An update from Free Practice for the United States Grand Prix as Max and Alex get up and running at the Circuit of the Americas.
Oh, we do love Austin. Firstly, the Circuit of the Americas works perfectly for F1.
The first sector does the glamour thing of showing F1 cars performing at their absolutely best, with a high-speed flick-flack of successive corners reminiscent of Suzuka’s Esses or Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel complex. After this, it’s got a hairpin, then a mirror image of Hockenheim’s Stadium Section, after which there’s a surprisingly quick final corner that catches lots of drivers out. Best of all, it’s designed with a couple of good overtaking spots, where the layout of the corner doesn’t really provide a guaranteed defensive line.
Because of these factors – and some interesting weather – we’ve never had a dull race at COTA and the race has developed a really strong following. It’s a big circuit, but happily it’s always full for the grand prix.
For the first session of the weekend, Max and Alex had some fresh Pirelli Sport rubber to test as each car was given two sets of 2020 C4 soft compound tyres to use during both free practice sessions for the day.
After a period on the test tyres, the Bulls bolted on the current spec softs to produce their quickest times. For Free Practice One Max took P1 with a 1:34.057 from 18 laps and Alex P3 with a 1:34.316 from 23 laps.
In Free Practice Two, Max was P3 with a 1:33.547 from his 28 laps while Alex was P6 with a 1:34.434 his best time from a further 32 laps for the day. Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets with a 1:33.232.
The final practice session of the weekend, Free Practice Three, saw Max finish P1 posting a 1:33.305 from 13 laps. Alex was P6 with a time of 1:33.983 from his 14 laps.