Hamilton keeps his powder dry ahead of Austin deluge
The timing of the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas has never been its strong point. This year in particular it clashes with a big college football match in Austin and a NASCAR race at Talladega.
But it also comes right in the middle of some of the worst weather in north American history.
Down Mexico way, where Formula 1 will travel next weekend, Hurricane Patricia is set to break all records with speeds of 250mph in the Guadalajara area north of Mexico City, and torrential rain is heading fast towards Texas, amid concerns in Austin that the anticipated deluge could disrupt qualifying today.
Lewis Hamilton kept his powder dry in a wet first practice for a Grand Prix that could seal the Briton’s third World Championship.
The Mercedes driver completed just four timed laps and ended up fifth overall, with team-mate Nico Rosberg leading the timesheets.
Rosberg lapped more than a second faster than anyone else, the German’s best time of one minute 53.989 seconds comparing to the next quickest of 1:55.224 set by Russian Daniil Kvyat for Red Bull.
To claim back-to-back titles, Hamilton needs to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who has a 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race due to an engine change, by nine points and Rosberg by two.
A Mercedes one-two, with Hamilton first, would do the trick and the Briton has a great record in Austin with two wins in the last three races there.
US Grand Prix – Qualifying
Sky Sports F1 & Setanta Ireland 7.0
Race: Sky Sports F1 & Setanta Ireland, 7.0 tomorrow