Austin, Texas, Oct 19 (EFE).- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) led the first free practice here Friday for this weekend's Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.
The Briton, who can clinch his 5th F1 driver's championship on Sunday, turned in a best lap of 1:47.502 on a wet Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
The other Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas of Finland, finished second, 1.3 seconds behind Hamilton.
Two Red Bull drivers, Dutchman Max Verstappen and Australian Daniel Ricciardo, finished third and fourth, respectively, while Germany's Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) finished fifth, nearly two seconds off the pace.
Hamilton, who is 67 points ahead of the German four-time champion, needs to gain eight points more than his only rival to clinch the Austin championship, with three races still to go.
On Friday's wet session, Hamilton, who has won the US Grand Prix six times, reached the first position when there was still more than half an hour to conclude FP1.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Renault) finished seventh, while his fellow countryman Fernando Alonso (McLaren) finished 11th.
Mexico's Sergio Perez (Force India) finished 14th, nearly four seconds behind Hamilton.
The session was stopped for several minutes to remove the gravel left on the track by Charles Leclerc (Sauber-Ferrari) after he went off the course.