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Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was effortlessly made fastest lap-time on a drying Circuit of the Americas in first free practice session, half a second up on Sebastian Vettel.

Five-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton post a fastest time of 1:36.335, half a second clear of nearest title rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Max Verstappen, who signing a new Red Bull deal, finished fourth fastest ahead of McLaren speedy Stoffel Vandoorne.

Williams driver Felipe Massa were sixth after runs on the faster ultra-soft tyre, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was seventh and the Force India’s of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez eighth and ninth.

Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top ten at the Circuit of the Americas. The Spaniard made eight tenths faster than Nico Hulkenberg on his debut run in the Renault.

Brendon Hartley on his Toro Rosso debut was 14th. The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.


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