United States GP practice at it happened

Text and video highlights of second practice for the United States GP in Austin, Texas, where Sebastian Vettel is fastest.

15 November 2013 Last updated at 14:32 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 2050: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's second practice report plus our story on Kimi Raikkonen having successful surgery on his back ahead of his return to Ferrari next season. I'm off to fuel up on chili con carne, as it's Texas GP weekend, but will be back at 1430 GMT to begin building up to final practice and then qualifying. Until then, it's good night from me. See ya.

  2. 2044: 

    It's looking like a Red Bull front row lock-out, with Sebastian Vettel quicker than team-mate Mark Webber. But there's still one more practice session for everyone else to catch up. That'll be tomorrow at 1500 GMT, with live text commentary as per usual, along with audio commentary from BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

  3. 2040: 

    The Ferrari's are in a spot of bother, with Fernando Alonso 10th, 1.1 seconds off Sebastian Vettel's pace. Felipe Massa is a half a second further back. Taking second - or even third - in the constructors' championship is looking like a big ask.

  4. 2036: 
    Heikki Kovalainen

    Heikki Kovalainen has had a very strong day behind the wheel of the Lotus considering he was drafted in so late to replace Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races of the season. The Finn was two tenths faster than team-mate Romain Grosjean, who has been on the podium in three of the last four races.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Vettel and Webber will be the front row, but I think the Mercedes will keep them honest. Behind that, it's about fuel loads - I don't expect Kovalainen or Gutierrez to be able to keep it up there. I think it'll be a good mix in qualifying."

  6. 2033: 

    1) Vettel 2) Webber 3) Rosberg 4) Hamilton 5) Kovalainen 6) Gutierrez 7) Hulkenberg 8) Grosjean 9) Button 10) Alonso 11) Sutil

    12) Massa 13) Perez 14) Ricciardo 15) Di Resta 16) Bottas 17) Vergne 18) Maldonado 19) Pic 20 Van der Garde 21) Chilton 22) Bianchi

  7. 2030: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel finishes fastest in second practice for the United States Grand Prix.

  8. 2028: 

    At last, the marshals have got the car clear of the track and we're back under green flag conditions for the final two minutes.

  9. 2027: 

    "How long is it going to take them to take that car away?" Nico Hulkenberg asks his Sauber team. The German has a point.

  10. 2024: 

    The man in control of the crane, which has hoisted up Max Chilton's Marussia, doesn't look like he's entirely sure what all the controls do. He's moved forwards and backwards several times and is wiggling levers and pressing buttons as if he's hoping for the best. No wonder the Marussia mechanics are glued to their TV screens as they'll be anxious that no damage is done to the car.


    Marussia's Max Chilton: "I just had complete brake failure - the pedal went completely to the floor. There was nothing I could do."

  12. 2022: 

    Not for the first time today, a Marussia has pulled over to the side of the track. This time, it's Max Chilton's car. It looks like a brake issue. He's pulled off track on the outside of the final corner, with flames licking out from the front right brake disc.

  13. 2020: 

    The medium tyres on Fernando Alonso's Ferrari look like they've had their day, the Spaniard sliding that scarlet machine around the track like he's driving on ice. Unsurprisingly, the double world champion pits for new boots.

  14. 2015: 

    There's just 15 minutes to go at the Circuit of the Americas, which is currently bathed in glorious sunshine. While Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is lapping in the low 1m43s, McLaren's Jenson Button started his stint in the 1m44s and is only now getting into the high 1m43s after nine laps on that medium rubber.

    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "Force India's Paul Di Resta is not happy at all. He's been on the team radio saying: 'Absolutely shocking grip, it's like the [harder] compound's solid.'"

  16. 2013: 

    Mark Webber pits and switches the mediums for the hard tyres. Over at Mercedes, Nico Rosberg is in, too, swapping the hards for the options.

  17. 2007: 
    US GP

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is absolutely flying. The German does a low 1m43 and then a high 1m42 at the start of his high-fuel run. The man is a machine.

    "Your pace is plenty quick enough," says his race engineer Rocky. "We need to think about saving tyres. Stay in the 1m43s for the whole stint."

  18. 2000: 

    Ferrari are also splitting their strategies with Fernando Alonso doing a race simulation on the mediums and Felipe Massa using the hards for his.


    Mercedes: And it's now long run time for @LewisHamilton on the option to give a direct compare to @nico_rosberg on the prime.

  20. 1955: 
    US GP

    The news that Sergio Perez will not be driving for McLaren next season couldn't have come at a worse time for the Mexican. Austin is just a car journey away from Mexico, so Perez has a huge following at the track this weekend.

    He's currently 13th fastest, two seconds off the pace and 1.1 seconds slower than team-mate Button. Perez has yet to announce his plans for next season, with only a few seats left for the taking. What does lie in his favour, though, is substantial sponsorship cash.


    Kevin Jeffrey: Let's hope Kovalainen shows why he should have a permanent seat in a F1 car over the next 2 weeks

  22. 1951: 

    Sebastian Vettel goes quickest with a 1:37.305, improving on his hard tyre run by nine tenths of a second. The German even set that time on his fifth lap on those medium 'option' tyres. He is going to be so hard to beat this weekend.

  23. 1949: 

    Lewis Hamilton, who has looked a bit scruffy in this session, tells his team that he would like one more lap on the option tyre, because he feels there more left in the car.

    However his race engineer tells him they've probably got the best out of the option tyres now and with the time pressures, they need to get on with the long-run simulations.

  24. 1944: 

    Sebastian Vettel has bolted on the set of medium tyres but his lap is ruined by traffic and he backs off before preparing the tyres for another go.

  25. 1938: 

    Heikki Kovalainen, the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner who is stepping in for Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races, has gone third fastest, six tenths off the pace set by Mark Webber.

  26. 1931: 

    Mark Webber, who will compete in just two more Formula 1 races, has stormed to the top of the charts with a 1:37.420 on the medium tyres, three tenths quicker than the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

  27. 1924: 

    Matt Le Blanc - or Joey from Friends - is in the paddock today. The Episodes actor is watching the session from the Lotus garage.

    Elsewhere, I've spotted legendary American ex-F1 driver Mario Andretti and three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart taking in the Austin sun while 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell is this weekend's driver steward.


    Mercedes: There's a strong breeze blowing out there today and, as you'll remember from Suzuka, that can play havoc with the balance!

  29. 1919: 

    Hard tyres are still the rubber of choice at the moment, with a large part of the grid choosing to sit in their garages at this stage of the session. There's just over an hour to go.

  30. 1914: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (pictured) improves to a 1:38.211, four tenths clear of team-mate Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton has popped up into third, ahead of Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean.

  31. 1911: 

    Nico Rosberg reports that he has too much understeer "everywhere at the moment". Plenty of work for the German and his Mercedes team to do.

  32. 1906: 

    Sebastian Vettel finds himself in the familiar position of P1. This year's world champion clocked a 1:38.352, which is six tenths quicker than the McLaren of Jenson Button. Nico Rosberg is up in third, ahead of Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg.

  33. 1903: 

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have headed out on new hard tyres for their first run. Alonso was quickest in first practice earlier today. I'm fairly confident he won't be on top of the pile again in just under 90 minutes...

  34. 1900: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Heikki Kovalainen wastes no time in getting out and about in his Lotus as the second practice gets under way.

  35. 1855: 

    I'm pleased to report that there is no fog in sight. In fact, we've got bright blue skies and a track temperature of 31C. The air temperature is down at 24C with a wind speed of 6kph.


    Mr Barry Rayner: It's just not been Jenson's year has it. Hopefully he has a grrrreat race!

  37. 1850: 

    What do you think about Jenson Button's penalty? I've just seen a replay and he definitely did it, passing the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat just after Turn One with the red flags waving.

    Who is best placed to take victory this weekend? And how will Heikki Kovalainen perform in his new surroundings at Lotus? Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those messages.

  38. 1845: 

    The second session should start at 1900 GMT, with online-only BBC Radio 5 live commentary starting five minutes before. It'll last 90 minutes and should see plenty of action from the off as teams bid to make up for lost time.


    Red Bull: Texas doesn't do small. We're not complaining as we do love our doughnuts.

  40. 1840: 
    US GP

    Jenson Button's weekend has just got a whole lot worse after a trip to the stewards. The McLaren driver overtook under red flags in first practice and has thus been handed a three-place grid penalty for the race.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "It was an embarrassing first practice session for Formula 1 here this weekend, with delays caused by fog and then a screw-up with the medical helicopter. That's all behind us now, and the sun is shining ahead of the second session. The paddock here at the Circuit of the Americas is surprisingly full for a Friday. Of important issues, Ferrari engineering director Pat Fry says Fernando Alonso's back was fine in first practice, which is encouraging for the team. His pace-setting lap time is unlikely to be repeated in the second session, when the Red Bulls and Mercedes are likely to stretch their legs as the teams simulate qualifying and race pace."

  42. 1836: 

    Sessions can't take place without a medical helicopter at the track on standby. Race officials had been told one was on its way from the nearby airport, but it didn't show up.

    It transpires that he pilot had a radio problem and had to turn back. When he was ready to go again, air traffic control wouldn't let him cross the airport. Eventually, it left but race director Charlie Whiting wanted to wait till it actually arrived before restarting the session.

    But enough about helicopters. Let's talk about Formula 1, eh?

  43. 1832: 

    Hello everybody and welcome! We were talking about helicopters rather than Formula 1 cars for most of the first session - and there wasn't even one at the circuit, which was actually the problem.

  44. 1830: 

    Do not fear, the helicopter is here. Second practice for the United States Grand Prix should start without a hitch in 30 minutes time.

  45. 1720: 

    And we've still got one more 90-minute session to look forward to. That starts at 1900 GMT, but I'll be back live at 1830 with the BBC Radio 5 live team joining with commentary available online just before the pit lane light goes green. In the meantime, here's Andrew Benson's first practice report and I'll see you in a bit.

  46. 1715: 

    At one point, I didn't think we were going to get any running as first fog and then the absence of the medical helicopter threatened to derail the session.

    But the weather soon improved, the chopper finally made its way over from the airport and the drivers were able to get some running.


    Ferrari: A session troubled by fog and helicopters... We did what was possible to do with such limited amount of time available.

  48. 1710: 

    One-time race winner Heikki Kovalainen, drafted in to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for the final two races of the season, was 13th, just 0.249secs off his team-mate Romain Grosjean after 18 laps of running.

    Russian Daniil Kvyat, driving for Toro Rosso in first practice for the final two races ahead of his full-time debut with the team next season, was 0.202secs slower than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to Red Bull next year.

    American Alexander Rossi, driving for Caterham in first practice in place of Giedo Van Der Garde, was a massive 0.655secs quicker than team-mate Charles Pic.

    So all in all, a good day for the new faces.

  49. 1705: 

    I don't think much can be read into the times, especially with Sebastian Vettel all the way down in 18th. The German is clearly taking it easy early on in the weekend.

  50. 1704: 

    1) Alonso 2) Button 3) Bottas 4) Gutierrez 5) Rosberg 6) Hamilton 7) Massa 8) Webber 9) Hulkenberg 10) Maldonado 11) Grosjean

    12) Perez 13) Kovalainen 14) Sutil 15) Di Resta 16) Ricciardo 17) Kvyat 18) Vettel 19) Rossi 20) Chilton 21) Pic 22) Gonzalez

  51. 1702: 

    Fernando Alonso finishes fastest in first practice for the United States Grand Prix. The last time a Ferrari topped the session was back in Belgium, according to BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards.

  52. 1700: 

    The chequered flag is out to bring this convoluted session to and end.

  53. 1658: 

    Rodolfo Gonzalez has pulled off the track in the Marussia. BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says he thinks it's an engine blow. That's bad news for the Venezuelan and even worse news for Jules Bianchi whose car it is.

  54. 1655: 

    Alexander Rossi is doing a remarkable job in the Caterham. The American is currently 19th fastest, seven tenths quicker than regular race driver and team-mate Charles Pic.

    Danii Kvyat is looking promising, too. He's just two tenths slower than Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo.

    And over at Lotus, Heikki Kovalainen is a quarter of a second adrift of Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean. The Finn seems to be adapting well to his new surroundings.

  55. 1650: 

    Fernando Alonso still leads the way in Austin, 0.045 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Impressive stuff from the Finn. Jenson Button is third, ahead of Esteban Gutierrez and Felipe Massa.

    Mark Webber is sixth, Lewis Hamilton eighth and Sebastian Vettel 18th.

  56. 1645: 

    Away from Austin, former F1 driver Robert Kubica has crashed on his top level rallying debut in Wales Rally GB. The Pole was seventh overall after the first day, but rolled his Citroen on to its roof. Neither he nor his co-driver were injured. If the team can repair the car, he can rejoin the rally, albeit with heavy time penalties.

  57. 1641: 
    US GP

    Heikki Kovalainen is doing an impressive job so far. The Finn, who has stepped in for Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races of the season, is just two tenths slower than Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean at this stage.

  58. 1638: 

    The hard tyres are starting to warm up nicely, which means the times are tumbling. Fernando Alonso is our new leader with a 1:38.7, 0.134 seconds clear of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Romain Grosjean, Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg complete the top five.

  59. 1633: 

    Fernando Alonso has gone third quickest, seven tenths off the pace set by Jenson Button, with Nico Hulkenberg fourth and Romain Grosjean fifth. Everyone apart from Sebastian Vettel is out on track, so there's quite a bit of traffic there. Mark Webber gets caught up in it and can only manage the ninth fastest time, 1.3 seconds off the pace.

  60. 1628: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    First practice for the United States Grand Prix is back under way. Again. We've got just under 30 minutes of running remaining in this session.

  61. 1627: 

    And there it is in all its glory! We have a medical helicopter and it has safely landed on the helipad. Within seconds, race control announce that the session will restart in one minute.

  62. 1625: 

    The FIA have told Jennie Gow that the medical helicopter is in the air, having left the airport, which is just 5-10 minutes away - so it should be here soon.

  63. 1623: 

    The US GP organisers are having a shocker here. It seems a helicopter has arrived, but it may not be the medical helicopter.

  64. 1620: 

    The clock has started ticking because first practice must finish at 1700 GMT as there needs to be two hours between the two sessions. However, the session isn't back underway yet.

  65. 1618: 

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's the helicopter! Hurrah.

  66. 1615: 

    McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh tells BBC Radio 5 live's pit lane reporter Jennie Gow that he told Sergio Perez last week that the team were talking to another driver. He also likens new driver Kevin Magnussen to a young Lewis Hamilton.

  67. 1610: 

    The clock has stopped, which means when/if the session restarts, we'll have 45 minutes of action.


    Richard: Medical Helicopter has done a runner.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Lewis Hamilton had a difficult couple of races in India and Abu Dhabi, which he described on Thursday as 'shocking', but Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn revealed here that there was an explanation, at least for his struggles in the race in Abu Dhabi. The team discovered that the chassis had a quite serious crack in it, possibly caused by his suspension-breaking trip over the kerbs in qualifying at Yas Marina which cost him a front-row starting place. Hamilton himself did not mention the problem, saying he did not want to appear as if he was looking for excuses. 'I am hoping this weekend to put myself in a better position,' he said. 'I feel positive for this weekend.'"

    You can read the latest Lewis Hamilton column on the F1 pages.

  70. 1605: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says he has spoken to the FIA and they say they don't know where the medical helicopter is. They know it set off but have no idea why it's not here yet. What a mess.

  71. 1603: 

    We're just seeing some shots of Heikki Kovalainen talking to his Lotus engineers and it looks like he's no entirely comfortable with his position in the car. He seems to be suggesting there's an issue with the amount of space down the sides of his cockpit which is impeding the movement of his arms. The Finn only had a seat fitting on Wednesday before flying straight out to Austin so he's not had much time to get acquainted with his new office.

  72. 1600: 

    Before the session was halted, just five drivers had set a lap time. Jenson Button leads the way by a couple of tenths from McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg is third, ahead of Alexander Rossi and Charles Pic.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:
    Sergio Perez

    "Thursday must count as probably the most difficult day of Sergio Perez's life. Dropped by McLaren, he had to face a series of news conferences and interviews asking him about the decision. To his credit, the Mexican dealt with the situation well. His body language and manner made it clear how upset he was but he did not criticise the team, realising how that could affect the way other teams viewed him - and now he needs another team. He admitted the timing of the decision had been 'really late, which puts me in a very difficult position for my future'.

    "He added: 'McLaren decided to go another route. I have to find my own route and hopefully I can find the best possible seat available for my career. I want to stay in F1 but I will not stay in F1 just to stay. If I don't find the right option for myself then I have to look at something else - but I'm pretty confident something good will happen.' A fortnight ago, he had been 'pretty confident' he would stay at McLaren, but with a reputed $10m to buy a drive (minus his salary), he has a decent chance of a seat at, say, Force India."

  74. 1555: 

    Race control report that there are further problems with the medical helicopter. We've just seen a shot of the helipad, and there's no helicopter on it. That's a bit of an issue as the session can't continue without it.

  75. 1552: 

    We've got red flags waving at the Circuit of the Americas, but I'm not quite sure why...

  76. 1550: 

    Jenson Button is getting down to business pretty quickly and has already completed five laps with a best of 1:39.493, with his fastest lap eight tenths quicker than McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Lotus were turned down by two drivers before they settled on Heikki Kovalainen - one was Michael Schumacher and the other was Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg is the driver Lotus want for next year if they decide they can afford him - or, more precisely, can afford not to take the £30m that comes with Pastor Maldonado. The Sauber driver was given no guarantees about 2014 and felt stepping into a strange car at the end of the season was a bad idea. It's a sensible decision given he has nothing firmed up for 2014 - it would have burned his bridges with Sauber, and a poor showing might have put both Lotus and Force India off him. 'It sounded attractive from the outside,' Hulkenberg said. 'But it's for the last two races, which brings also some risk with it, and you have to see the bigger picture beyond those two races, and see what can happen then. And that's why we came up with this decision.'"

  78. 1546: 

    Jenson Button is the first man to set a lap time which means he's currently fastest. His McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez then goes second, with American Alexander Rossi, who is standing in for Giedo van der Garde in this session at Caterham, third.

  79. 1544: 

    Lotus says Kimi Raikkonen's back surgery was successful. Here's the full statement:

    "As planned, Kimi Räikkönen underwent back surgery yesterday at The University Hospital of Strasbourg. Lotus F1 Team is happy to report that the operation was totally successful, according to Professor Afshin Gangi.

    "Kimi will now rest for a few days and he will start his recovery process as early as next week. Everyone at the track and at Enstone wishes him a quick recovery."

  80. 1542: 

    Heikki Kovalainen is the first man out in the Lotus. The Finn pulls out of the garage and does a smooth practice start at the end of the pit lane before heading out on track.

  81. 1540: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    At long, long last, first practice for the United States Grand Prix is go, go, go!

  82. 1535: 

    Fernando Alonso has suited up and is climbing into his Ferrari which means he must be pretty confident the session is going to start at 1540 GMT. The sun is fighting its way through and blue sky is starting to appear. We'll have cars on track in no time, I'm sure.

  83. 1530: 
    Circuit of the Americas

    Race control says that the session will last one hour and finish at 1640 GMT, which suggests it will start at 1540.

  84. 1525: 

    More bad news, folks. The session has been delayed by a further 10 minutes. So we're looking at a new estimated start time of 1535 GMT. To be fair, the first half hour is normally pretty quiet anyway, but even so...

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Many see Heikki Kovalainen's two races with Lotus as a chance to put himself properly back on the market but the man himself says he is thinking only about helping Lotus finish as high in the constructors' championship as possible - they are fourth and hoping to catch Mercedes and Ferrari to finish second or third. 'The main focus this weekend is not trying to show what I can do, but trying to deliver for the team. I'm here for the team more than myself,' Kovalainen said.

    "As for his future, the former McLaren and Renault driver said: 'I haven't spoken to Lotus about next year at all. The only team that I've really spoken seriously to is Caterham [who released him as their reserve driver for these two races], and we're getting to a point where we're closer to starting to agree terms, so I think that's still the most likely option for me. You never know in this paddock, but I don't feel any extra pressure. I don't see these races as deciding what happens [next year].'"

  86. 1519: 

    Lewis Hamilton has popped over to the Lotus garage to have a chat to old team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. It's not a bad life being an F1 driver is it?

  87. 1517: 

    Nice touch from Lotus who have put a "Get well soon Kimi" message on their car, along with an image of Raikkonen's trademark sunglasses and cap.

  88. 1515: 

    We've got another delay, folks. We're looking at a new estimated start time of 1525 GMT.

  89. 1510: 

    Heikki Kovalainen is using the delay to chat with new boss Eric Boullier. The Finn, who has done six practice sessions for Caterham this season, will be keen to get behind the wheel of his new Lotus office as every second of track time will count.

    Fog at the Circuit of the Americas

    Red Bull: We might need some fog lights on the RB9 for today's practice sessions.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:
    Heikki Kovalainen

    "Heikki Kovalainen's career at the top of F1 appeared to be over, but Lotus have given him a chance to revive it by drafting him in to replace Kimi Raikkonen, who is missing the final two races after saying he needed an operation on his back. It's a sensible choice. The team know him well from his year with them in 2007, when they were called Renault, and he has the experience to stand him in good stead. 'Only time will tell how things go, but I expect myself to perform well,' Kovalainen said. 'I've been in Formula 1 long enough, even if I haven't driven much this year.'"

  92. 1505: 

    The session has been delayed by a further 10 minutes, so the new start time is now 1520 GMT. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber use the spare time to have a chat in the pit lane. Both are wrapped up in their zip-ups with hands in pockets as it's pretty chilly out there.

  93. 1503: 

    If you're just tuning in expecting to see updates on first practice, I'm sad to tell you that the session has been delayed because of fog. We've got an estimated start time of 1510 GMT, but I'm not hopeful as the fog is still hanging in the air.

  94. 1459: 

    Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi, who lost out to Heikki Kovalainen in the race to replace Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races of the season, tells BBC Radio 5 live that he was "really disappointed" to miss out.

    "It's a big loss," he said. "It was the chance of my life, I was really close to having it. It might have been the only two races in my Formula 1 career - and I was focused. I missed the chance, they took Kovalainen, and we have to accept the decision of the team.

    "We still have two races to go, I'm focused on my job. I'd love to have the chance to show my quality. I was a [GP2] champion last year, this year isn't working well for me. But life is strange and can change so quickly."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:
    Daniil Kvyat

    "Daniil Kvyat held his first news conference as an F1 driver here on Thursday and came across as level-headed, down-to-earth and realistic ahead of his outing in first practice for Toro Rosso. The 19-year-old Russian admitted getting the promotion to F1 from GP3 was 'a surprise, for sure, but not a huge one' - he had been told by Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko after the Belgian Grand Prix in August that he had a chance. He said of running in P1 here and in Brazil: 'These two outings are really important to learn these two tracks and get extra miles in an F1 car and try to get to know the team as quickly as possible'. And he is aware of the ruthlessness with which Red Bull treat their young drivers, dispensing with them if they consider them not up to scratch. 'He (Marko) just told me I have to deliver'."

  96. 1455: 

    The start of the session has been delayed for at least 10 minutes as the medical helicopter is unable to fly. So we're looking at an estimated start time of 1510 GMT.

  97. 1452: 

    If you're stood on the start/finish line looking back at the grid, you can't see further back past the front four rows or so, such is the thickness of the fog.

  98. 1450: 

    The start of practice has been delayed because of fog. Bad news for the likes of Daniil Kvyat, Alexander Rossi and Heikki Kovalainen who will be desperate for track time.

  99. 1448: 

    Back to this weekend and today's two Friday practice sessions, the first of which starts at 1500 GMT and lasts 90 minutes. The second follows at 1900, and also lasts 90 minutes.

    We'll have live text commentary to take you through every second, with BBC Radio 5 live sports extra joining the party from five minutes into the session.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "First practice is not always the most meaningful part of a grand prix weekend, but there is a lot to watch out for in Texas this morning. Heikki Kovalainen, charged with helping Lotus try to snatch third or even second in the constructors' championship, is getting to grips with Kimi Raikkonen's old car for the first time, after his fellow Finn told the team had could not race in the final two grands prix because he needed an operation on a long-standing back problem. A back issue suffered in a high-speed kerb-bouncing episode in Abu Dhabi means Fernando Alonso will not know for sure if he can race this weekend until he drives this morning. And 2014 Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat gets his first taste of his new team. Don't look away for a minute."

  101. 1446: 
    Former Renault driver Robert Kubica

    We're often asked via Twitter about the progress of former BMW Sauber and Renault driver Rober Kubica following his horrific rallying accident in 2011.

    Well I met up with him in Wales earlier this week and he was in fine form. The Pole, who is currently seventh in the WRC's Wales Rally GB, says a return to Formula 1 remains a "dream" but is "nearly impossible" based on the current state of his injuries sustained in the crash.

    The 28-year-old told BBC Sport: "I would be able to drive an F1 car on one or two circuits for testing. But it doesn't make sense to test for a day if I cannot race."

  102. 1442:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    Former F1 driver Jan Magnussen, whose son Kevin has signed a deal to race for McLaren next season, talking to BBC Radio 5 live: "I've tried the best I could to try and explain to him where I thought I went wrong when I had the chance. He has to accept that he has to try and be the best in every area.

    "The guys he's going up against are probably just as fast as him and they are also working hard in every other aspect. Kevin has a dream of being world champion. We've talked about how hard that will be, but he has worked hard and McLaren have supported him all the way."

    If you missed last night's preview show, you can listen to it here.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "One of the joys of Formula 1 is that nothing stands still. The sands are always shifting; the sport always has a capacity to intrigue and sometimes surprise. This last week has been a case in point. Lotus have tried to tempt Michael Schumacher out of retirement and after he turned them down have ended up giving Heikki Kovalainen, a man whose career at the top seemed to be over, another golden opportunity to show what he can do; Kevin Magnussen, the son of a former F1 driver, has been given the chance of a lifetime to make his debut at McLaren next year; and Felipe Massa, battered by Fernando Alonso for four years at Ferrari, is starting a new chapter with Williams next season. Who said there was nothing to watch now Sebastian Vettel has tied up the title?"

  104. 1437: 

    Both championships may have been decided for this season, but there has still been plenty to talk about in the days leading to this weekend's race.

    First Kimi Raikkonen decided not to bother with the last two races of the season with Lotus, instead choosing to have back surgery before he returns to Ferrari next year. Then Williams signed Felipe Massa, with Pastor Maldonado heading out the door.

    Lotus then sounded out Michael Schumacher - yes you read that right - about their vacant seat for the rest of the season but the 44-year-old declined so they plumped for Heikki Kovalainen.

    And then McLaren announced they were dumping Sergio Perez after just one year in favour of rookie Kevin Magnussen, son of Jan who scored one point in F1 before being sacked half way through his second season.

  105. 1433: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Howdy! Welcome to our live coverage of first practice for the United States Grand Prix - the penultimate round of the series which has already seen Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel claim his fourth world title.

  106. 1430: 

    They say that everything is bigger in Texas - and they're not wrong. The US state is a whopping 696,241km - only Alaska is larger - and is famous for horses, George Bush, ranches, cowboy hats, huge meal portions and the American round of the Formula 1 World Championship.

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FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 43
2 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 40
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 33
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 20
5 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 12
6 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
7 Finland V Bottas Williams 10
8 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 9
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
10 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
11 C Sainz Toro Rosso 6
12 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
13 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 2
14 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
15 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
16 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
17 R Merhi Manor Marussia F1 0
18 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Spain F Alonso McLaren 0
21 W Stevens Manor Marussia F1 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

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