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As it happened: Friday practice two
By Geoff Creighton, Emlyn Hughes and Charles Bradley
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Alonso18:55 Hello and welcome back to AUTOSPORT Live as we continue with rolling updates and commentary on the penultimate round of this year's FIA Formula 1 world championship - the United States Grand Prix from Austin, Texas.

Teams and drivers have coped well with a difficult day so far at the 5.513km Circuit of the Americas. Firstly, the morning session was delayed when fog descended over the facility. No sooner had the conditions improved and the action got going, then there was a fault with the medical helicopter and another had to be flown in from downtown Austin, causing a lengthy red flag.

Helicopter issue caused P1 interruption

Fernando Alonso was quickest in the truncated session, topping the timesheet with a lap of 1m38.343s. The Spaniard ended up just 0.028s clear of Jenson Button and 0.045s ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Esteban Gutierrez was fourth for Sauber, with Nico Rosberg fifth and Lewis Hamilton sixth for Mercedes.

Alonso leads bizarre first practice session

The teams and drivers will now hope to get 90 trouble-free minutes in which to find a solid set-up and balance, while testing out both types of Pirelli tyre and working with varying amounts of fuel, as they work towards Sunday's race.

18:56 Conditions are fine and dry with clear skies and abundant sunshine around the circuit - a far cry from this morning's murky weather.

There is a light-to-moderate south-westerly breeze, while air temperature is up to today's maximum of 25 degrees Celsius.

Hamilton18:57 A full session ahead of the teams and drivers now and the first opportunity to test Pirelli's pair of compounds for this event - the medium and hard rubber.

A traditional plan will see drivers out relativity early on the harder compound, before a move to see how much quicker the medium rubber can go.

As ever, the session will conclude with a series of long runs as the race performance of both tyres is tested with a heavy fuel load.

18:58 Trouble for Jenson Button in that first session as he was spotted overtaking a car under the helicopter red flag. He gets a grid penalty:

Button hit with grid penalty for overtaking under red

18:59 Track temperature is up to 31 degrees Celsius, with less than one minute to go until the pitlane opens.

0 min: Green light in Texas.

0 min: Kovalainen is first man out with a practice start in his Lotus.

0 min: Hulkenberg joins in with his Sauber.

1 min: Di Resta and Vergne (who is now in the Toro Rosso, replacing the impressive Kvyat), join the circuit.

1 min: Bottas heads out for a run in the Williams.

2 min: The standard form at this juncture is for the drivers to head straight out and complete a run of between five and seven laps. No install.

2 min: Kovalainen is away on a timed effort as more drivers head out to start the early runs.

3 min: Sutil is also on the circuit for a first run in the Force India.

4 min: 1m40.335s is the first time of the afternoon from Kovalainen.

4 min: Rosberg and Vettel are out there for a run with the first times about to be posted...

4 min: Di Resta slots into third with 1m47.827s.

4 min: Vergne goes second to Kovalainen with a time of 1m43.295s.

5 min: Bottas starts off with the seventh placed time - 1m50.448s after a slow, building effort.

5 min: Button, surely ruing that grid penalty, now tops the times in 1m39.786s.

6 min: Hamilton is now on track, as Sutil moves into eighth place with 1m45.192s.

6 min: Hulkenberg is up to second in the early order, with Kovlainen third and Perez fourth.

6 min: Di Resta improves on his second lap and moves back up to fifth spot with 1m40.617s.

7 min: Grosjean takes over the leading time with a new best of 1m39.159s.

7 min: Vettel is fastest of all in the middle sector, but he has backed off in the final section as he works through a constant speed aero test.

7 min: Vettel ultimately finishes the lap and goes 13th with a time of 1m46.904s.

8 min: Sutil has continued on for another lap and moved up to third spot, behind Grosjean and Kovalainen, with a time of 1m39.648s.

9 min: Vettel gets a better lap second time round and tops the order with 1m38.352s.

9 min: Rosberg also moves up and the German is third with 1m39.144s.

10 min: Di Resta improves in the Force India. The Scot is now 10th with a time of 1m39.979s.

10 min: Button continues to enjoy these hard tyres, clocking 1m38.929s to secure second fastest to Vettel, though over half a second slower.

11 min: Hamilton posted a slow building lap initially. He moves up to eighth with his second effort - 1m39.860s.

11 min: Alonso is now on track as team-mate Massa sits 11th in the times.

11 min: Many drivers out there now. Webber locks up heavily into Turn 1 at the start of his first timed lap, ruining that effort.

12 min: Rosberg says: “Too much understeer everywhere at the moment.”

12 min: Problems for Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian is yet to leave the pits, as has Pastor Maldonado.

13 min: Vettel has improved with a better lap of 1m38.211s, finding just over one-tenth of a second compared to his first effort.

13 min: Alonso joins the times in eighth as he gets a run underway on the harder tyres.

14 min: Button is second in the classification, but more than seven-tenths of a second adrift. Rosberg is third with Grosjean fourth.

15 min: Webber improves with his latest lap in the Red Bull. A time of 1m38.929s places him in third.

16 min: Hulkenberg is told: “You can improve on braking in 19 and 20.” He replies: “19, 20 is? Oh yes, at the end of the lap.”

16 min: Button improves his best to a 1m38.819s, third fastest at the moment but six tenths off Vettel's benchmark.

17 min: Pacesetter Vettel is back into the pits after six laps.

18 min: Webber comes through and he moves up to second spot, 0.449s behind team-mate Vettel, with a time of 1m38.660s.

18 min: A majority of drivers now back in the pits for data download and analysis ahead of a blast on the softer tyres.

19 min: Di Resta comments: “Car’s got a bit more difficult to drive in the wind. The tyre warm-up was very slow. Traction out of the slow and medium corners is the main problem.”

20 min: Button reports: “Struggling with front locking in the low-speed corners.”

21 min: Vergne has changed his rear wing towards lower-downforce set-up for the next run.

21 min: Rosberg is back into the pits after a run of nine laps. He has slipped to fourth in the classification, less then one-tenth down on Hamilton.

22 min: Hamilton also pits after nine tours of the circuit. Webber similarly pits, but after seven laps. The top five are all in the pits.

23 min: Ricciardo is out there after his earlier drama. His first timed lap is 1m41.658s, good enough for 19th position.

25 min: Vettel is back out for his second run in the Red Bull. Everyone still using the harder tyre for now.

25 min: Grosjean is giving the hard tyres another run as well in his Lotus.

26 min: Pic reports his Caterham is “much, much, much better” in terms of its grip level since FP1.

26 min: Sutil and Vergne are back out for a second ruin of laps. Vettel crosses the line two-tenths shy of his quickest lap so far.

28 min: Grosjean is still to fully master the tricky Turn 19, exiting via the run-off once more.

30 min: Kovalainen has switched to the medium compound, as has Hulkenberg and Gutierrez at Sauber.

30 min: Three consistent laps there from Vettel. He follows up an initial 1m38.4s effort with 1m38.3s and then 1m38.261s.

30 min: Gutierrez moves up to seventh as he completes a flyer on the medium tyres.

31 min: Pic is very happy with his lot, even referring to his engineer by his first name, which he hardly ever does. He’s told there is only one corner in the entire lap where team-mate van der Garde is faster, which is probably why.

31 min: Sutil has recently been off the road at Turn 19. He was able to rejoin and continue with this run of laps.

32 min: Not a great flying attempt for Kovalainen on his mediums with a slow 1m44s lap.

32 min: Maldonado is asked for his comments: “Everything is wrong” is his short reply. Oh dear.

32 min: Webber and Rosberg are back out there for a second run. Hamilton joins them on the circuit. All three are using the medium tyres.

33 min: Hulkenberg finds six tenths on the medium rubber despite a lock-up at Turn 15. He's now second fastest in 1m38.533s.

34 min: Better lap this time for Kovalainen on medium rubber and he goes fourth fastest in 1m38.552s.

34 min: Rosberg is quickest of all in the first and second sectors. He crosses the line and goes quickest with a time of 1m37.785s.

35 min: Button is now out to sample the medium compound.

35 min: Webber took the fastest middle sector away from Rosberg and he duly tops the list ahead of the German with a time of 1m37.420s.

35 min: Ricciardo continues to be in a world of woe: “In high-speed, the front is too weak. At low-speed, the rear is too weak.”

35 min: The gap between Webber and Rosberg is 0.365s, with Vettel now third, Gutierrez fourth, Hulkenberg fifth and Kovalainen sixth.

37 min: Hulkenberg confesses to an error: “I lost it at Turn 7.”

38 min: Alonso heads out with medium rubber now on his Ferrari.

38 min: Hamilton completes his first effort on soft tyres. The Briton moves up to third place with 1m38.088s.

40 min: Button complains: “Rear grip very poor.”

40 min: Replays of Rosberg blocking both fronts badly yet again. He is still second in the standings and comes into the pits.

40 min: Button did move up to sixth fastest with his effort on the medium compound, but almost a second off the pace.

41 min: Meanwhile, Kovalainen finds some speed in his medium rubber to go third fastest with a 1m38.073s lap.

43 min: Grosjean tries medium compound and he's not done well on the first timed lap, just like his team-mate.

44 min: Vettel leaves the pits on medium tyres and here is the critical run of the weekend. Are we going to get a race or a one man show?

45 min: That's better for Grosjean with a 1m38.255s, going eighth fastest. New team-mate Kovlainen found more, however, later in his run and is P3.

45 min: Webber has the time to beat for now with 1m37.420s with Rosberg second, Kovalainen third, Hamilton fourth and Vettel 0.791s back in fifth.

46 min: Alonso's first try with the medium compound is actually fractions slower than his earlier best. He remains 10th.

46 min: An issue for Vettel there with Grosjean and he has backed off towards the end of his first attempt.

47 min: Massa has steamed off into the distance at Turn 1, messing up his attempt on the medium tyres.

47 min: Vettel has now backed off and is on a cooling lap through the first sector of his second lap.

48 min: Hamilton got up as high as third on his medium tyre run but he is half-a-second down on Webber. He pits the Mercedes.

48 min: Vettel has completed that second cooling lap and is now having another go.

50 min: Rosberg is back out there for another run, as Vettel posts the fastest first sector time - 26.474s.

51 min: A personal best for Vettel in the middle section with 39.038s, as he looks to turn the screw on the field...

51 min: Vettel comes through and he is duly quickest with a time of 1m37.305s.

52 min: That concludes the majority of the short blasts on the softer tyres, with outfits now looking towards the long run tests.

52 min: The gap between Vettel and Webber is 0.115s, with Rosberg half-a-second back in third and Hamilton back in the pits in fourth.

55 min: Di Resta reports: “Absolutely shocking. No grip. I’d say the balance is even worse. Absolutely shocking in the feedback it gives you.”

56 min: Kovalainen settling into a mid-1m44s pace as he tests hard tyres on his Lotus - his first chance to take part in these long runs this year.

57 min: Vettel is back into the pits at the end of that ruin. There is no doubt that he could have gone a little quicker, had he not encountered Grosjean at an awkward moment, but the evidence at the time suggested that it wouldn't have been all that much faster.

57 min: 1m44s at Sauber as well, with Hulkenberg and Gutierrez trying opposite tyre strategies at the moment.

58 min: While the champion comes in for gas, his peers are already out there and beginning to work through their high fuel runs, as they look towards the first stint of Sunday's race.

59 min: Webber, Hamilton and Hulkenberg are all out there on similar aged medium tyres, while Rosberg is somewhat out on his own, using the harder compound.

63 min: Hulkenberg has found some more speed in his Sauber on medium tyres, skirting around the low 1m44s now after a dip into late 1m43s.

64 min: Webber's pace now drops into the low 1m44s range but so far he is quicker than those on similar tyres around him - with Hulkenberg being the closest challenger over recent laps.

64 min: Button gets radio news of the pace out there at the moment and is away again on medium tyres.

66 min: Kovalainen has drifted into the 1m45s bracket on his now 22-lap old hard tyres.

67 min: Van der Garde is unhappy with his recent set-up direction: “It’s definitely not the way to go, I cannot carry the speed into the corners, I lose the front a lot.”

68 min: Webber's pace is back down into the high 1m43s range, followed by another good lap of 1m43.219s next time round. Only Vettel is faster.

69 min: Grosjean is now on medium rubber and lapping in 1m43.7s.

69 min: Vettel is told, as ever: “Pace is plenty quick enough, think about saving the tyres.”

69 min: But Vettel is on medium tyres that are seven laps fresher than his team-mate. The German is zipping round in 1m42.9s currently.

70 min: Webber pits and the Australian switches onto the harder tyre.

70 min: Vettel is chastised: “The objective is to stay in the low-43s for the whole stint.”

72 min: Kovalainen is still going on hard tyres as he continues to learn the tyre-friendly characteristics of his Lotus.

72 min: Vettel posted a time of 1m43.0s next time round. You sense he is rather enjoying this, before sensibly dropping away to 1m43.513s.

73 min: Traffic was the reason for his 1m43.5s lap. Next time round he is back down to 1m43.065s. This is on medium tyres that have completed 13 laps.

73 min: Alonso is on a decent mid-to-late 1m43s pace with medium tyres on his Ferrari.

74 min: Ricciardo’s woes continue: “Not really any difference, still having the same issues. I either brake too late or way too early. I seem to have to stop the car on the apex. Traction is still really poor, the car is bouncing around a lot from the rear.”

74 min: Rosberg has been into the pits and switched over to the medium compound.

74 min: Kovalainen probably can't believe his tyres are still working as he finds a decent 1m43.843s on 26-lap old hard tyres.

75 min: Ricciardo is in 14th position, 1.941s off the leading pace. Critically, he is the only driver in the pits and losing out on valuable long run time.

75 min: Durability is looking good at this stage of the weekend, opening up the potential for a one-stop race on Sunday.

76 min: Mid 1m43s pace for Gutierrez on medium rubber, eight laps into the life of that set.

76 min: Hamilton is asked if he wants to run the option until the end: “Fine with me,” he replies.

76 min: Hamilton's pace is dropping away to the low 1m44s range, but this is after 20 laps on the medium tyre.

77 min: Just over 12 minutes of the session left, so you would think that Hamilton will get another five-to-six laps on this run, including the lap after the flag.

78 min: Ricciardo is now out there and can gather some race data in the remaining minutes.

80 min: Gutierrez ups his pace as the fuel burns away, breaking into 1m42s in his Sauber on medium tyres.

80 min: Webber is performing rather well out there on the harder tyre. After 13 tours he puts in a lap of 1m41.9s.

81 min: Kovalainen has switched to medium tyres and is also in 1m42s.

81 min: Hamilton is told: “You are now the longest runner on the option tyre.”

81 min: Chilton has pulled up and stopped his Marussia at Turn 20.

81 min: That's just past the pit entry, and there are some tyre marks heading towards the stranded car.

82 min: Replays pick up a huge spin, which Chilton describes on the radio as a brake failure.

82 min: Marshals are now on scene, craning the Marussia to safety.

83 min: Chilton reported: “Just had complete brake failure, the pedal went completely to the floor. Not much I could do.”

83 min: Hamilton's pace has fallen off. After 23 laps on the medium compound, he clocks 1m49.345s. after 1m46s the lap before.

83 min: These yellows in the final corner are of course denting the long run pace for the moment.

83 min: Vettel laps the circuit in 1m44.407s after 19 laps on the same tyres as the Briton.

85 min: The recovery operation is not going well at the moment as the squad debate effective craning of the Marussia.

86 min: The telescopic handler is struggling to manoeuvre in the gravel trap and may in fact be beached. Oh dear.

87 min: Frustration building now for the drivers as the crew finally start inching the Marussia towards safety.

87 min: Hulkenberg says what everyone else is thinking: “Jesus, how long do they need to get that car away?”

88 min: The track is finally clear, eight minutes after Chilton's off.

89 min: Gutierrez has been saving his rubber during that yellow, clocking a fine 1m41.626s as he gets a final chance to test the mediums.

90 min: Hamilton 1m45.064s with a clear track on medium tyres that have completed 28 laps.

90 min: That's the flag on day one at Austin.

20:31 A good lap there for Mark Webber as he comes through in 1m42.032s on 19-lap-old hard tyres.

20:32 Sebastian Vettel. A lap of 1m41.981s on medium tyres that have completed 23 laps. This answers everyone's question for the weekend.

20:33 Vettel tops the second practice session at Austin with a best lap of 1m37.305s, 0.115s clear of team-mate Mark Webber, with Rosberg third.

20:34 Hamilton is fourth with Kovalainen a creditable fifth on his return to Formula 1, Gutierrez sixth and Hulkenberg in seventh spot.

20:35 Grosjean is the second of the Lotus drivers in eighth position, with Button ninth and Alonso rounds out the top 10 for Ferrari.

20:36 It's a familiar story up front with Red Bull leading the way. Join us tomorrow for final practice and qualifying as the USGP story continues.

Session length: 90 minutes
Clear skies High Temp: 25°C / 77°F
Track: Dry
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Friday 15 Nov Start GMT
 Friday practice one 14:45
 Friday practice two 18:55
Saturday 16 Nov
 Saturday practice 14:55
 Qualifying 17:45
Sunday 17 Nov
 The US Grand Prix 18:30