Lewis Hamilton continues to dominate wet Friday practice during afternoon session in Austin
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 19, 2018 Updated: 5:29 PM PT
AUSTIN, Texas — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton maintained his dominant Friday practice as Sebastian Vettel runs into penalty trouble ahead of Saturday's qualifying.
Vettel was hit with a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow down during the red flag period in this morning’s practice. This means Vettel will move down three places no matter where he qualifies tomorrow.
The penalty will make it an uphill battle for Vettel as he needs to finish second place or better to continue the championship fight with Lewis Hamilton. The first 45 minutes of the session saw no running as teams were not keen to use up the limited amount of wet weather tires allocated.
Hamilton put 1.012s between himself and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who continues his positive pace. This rounded up the top three who all finished the afternoon in the intermediate (green band) tire.
Fernando Alonso also took to the track in what will be his final U.S. Grand Prix practice to finish fifth ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley who logged in 19 laps and finished sixth.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson finished the afternoon eighth ahead of ninth-placed Stoffel Vandoorne in the second McLaren. Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel ended the wet afternoon session five seconds off of Hamilton in ninth and tenth.
Ericsson’s teammate Charles Leclerc, who starts his next season as a Ferrari driver, finished the day 11th ahead of Williams driver Lance Stroll in 12th and the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and teammate Esteban Ocon in 13th and 14th.
Stroll’s teammate Sergey Sirotkin finished out the bottom of the order in 15th.