Valtteri Bottas fastest as Mercedes set United States GP pace

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The United States Grand Prix will be live on 5 Live and BBC Sport.

Lewis Hamilton was led by Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes set a record pace at the United States Grand Prix's first practice.

Bottas has a penalty of five places on the grid for an engine change. Hamilton was 0.045 seconds faster.

Max Verstappen, Hamilton's title rival, was an incredible 0.932secs slower than his Red Bull. He was ahead of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in Ferrari.

Leclerc was able to avoid damaging his car by taking a tumble at the Esses high-speed cars.

Hamilton's pace at Mercedes bodes well as Hamilton seeks to close Verstappen’s six-point gap in Austin.

Mercedes was expected to have a slight advantage based on their recent performance. However, the magnitude of their advantage suggests that there is an off-set in fuel load or engine mode. The gap seems too large to be representative.

Mercedes has fitted Bottas’ car with a sixth engine. Only three engines are allowed for the season. This means that the Finn will be penalized five places.

Williams driver George Russell, and Sebastian Vettel from Aston Martin have also been penalized for their engines. However, they have taken more components - a turbo as well as MGU-H and the ICE – and will therefore start at the back of grid.

Leclerc lost control of Turn Five's exit through the demanding and bumpy first sector. He was 0.5 seconds slower than Red Bull.

Leclerc's accident was caused by both drivers of the red car struggling to oversteer in high speed corners.

Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri, was sixth fastest ahead of McLaren's Lando norris, McLaren’s Sergio Perez and the Alfa Romeos Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen.

Fernando Alonso, Ocon's teammate, caused an early red flag when the Alpine he was riding on slowed down on track and leaking fluid after his first lap.

The Spanish two-time world champion was able to get back on track and finished the session 15th.

Mick Schumacher was involved in a late accident with Perez. Perez dived for the inside at Turn 12; Schumacher's Haas crashed into the run-off area.