The moment has come to race again in the Americas at the United Grand Prix. You could feel the excitement the moment you arrived on track alongside hundreds of fans early in the morning of the first day, free practice day.
Free practice 1 started with a track temperature of 30.5 degrees Celsius and Sergio Pérez being the first car out on track, but it quickly came to a halt when the session was red flagged when Fernando Alonso stopped his Alpine A521 to a stop as a precaution. The team instructed him to stop when they didn’t know what was happening with his car but there was fluid coming out of the back of the car (as they later reported).
With the green light, session started again with 49 minutes to go, and with the temperature raising, cars came out again to a track that now measured 32 degrees. It was getting hotter, and you could see the bumps on track.
At this time, Alpine were unsure of what happened, but their biggest concern was to get ALO back on track to not get to FP2 blind.
Pierre Gasly was the first one to get his time deleted due to exceeding track limits on turn 9, which alongside turn 19 is one to keep an eye on for track limits.
The second flag of the session, a yellow one, was caused by Charles Leclerc when he went off track and into the gravel but quickly corrected himself and went on track again and into the pits, where there was not much damaged that could be seen but a blister on the rears of his SF21.
After the yellow flag was removed, you could see the battle between title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to see who could get to the top of the leaderboard, but Pérez came through with hard tyres on and got fastest time.
Sebastian Vettel almost took P1, but got his time deleted for the same reason as Gasly – exceeding track limits on turn 9. At this time it was VER who claimed that spot with 23 minutes to go.
Alonso went back out, but Antonio Giovinazzi went into the garage because he was complaining about his helmet not feeling right and coming off (maybe not well adjusted).
PER, who had tried soft tyres but went back to the hard compound, complained about poor drivability on turn 9. This happened while Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team boss, declared that the Mercedes had a significant advantage over the Red Bulls on the straight lines.
With a few seconds left on the clock of FP1, there was a contact between Sergio Pérez and Mick Schumacher but with no significant consequences.
The session ended with Kimi Raikkonen having a bit of an oversteer and stopping at the end of the blind crest on turn 9.
At the end of the session, it was Valtteri Bottas who topped the leader board with a time of 1:34.874, followed by his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen completing top 3.
But the leader of FP1 is set to have a 5-place grid penalty due to ICE replacement. Two other drivers who are also getting a penalty for ICE, TC and MGU-H change are Sebastian Vettel and George Russell, who are starting the race from the back of the grid.