AUSTIN, Texas — Lewis Hamilton went quickest in the second practice session for the U.S. Grand Prix, which saw running restricted by rain.
The weather meant there was no running for over 45 of the 90 minutes allocated for FP2, a stalemate that was broken by Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley heading out onto the circuit. Hamilton, who can wrap up the world championship this weekend, kept his name at the top of the timesheets on a 1:48.716, but finished the session having completed just three laps.
A mixed-up order followed the Mercedes driver, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly finished second ahead of his 2019 Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. Fernando Alonso was fourth for McLaren and he will hope the rain continues as forecast into Saturday to try and drag his papaya orange car further up the order than it would be in dry conditions.
Hamilton has won five of the last six U.S. Grands Prix in Austin.
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Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Renault ahead of Hartley, who completed the most laps — 19 — of anyone. Marcus Ericsson and Stoffel Vandoorne occupied the next two spots, ahead of Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. The red cars emerged fairly late from the garage and the fact both finished five seconds down on Hamilton’s session suggests it was nothing close to a representative session.
Future Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was 11th ahead of Williams driver Lance Stroll and Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Sergey Sirotkin was the last of the drivers to set a lap time, but it was seven seconds slower than Hamilton’s benchmark. Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen did not emerge from the garage, while Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas also failed to record a lap.
While the adverse conditions are likely to linger into Saturday, the forecast currently predicts the sun will return in time for the race, which looks set to be run in overcast conditions.