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A new chassis for Vettel

NEWS STORY
21/10/2017

Having appeared somewhat feisty in Thursday's press conference, as soon as he hit the track on Friday it was clear that Lewis Hamilton is on a mission this weekend, a mission to wrap up the 2017 world championship as quickly as possible.

And while the Briton served a number of aces, leaving the opposition open mouthed, his only real rival for the title, Sebastian Vettel, was sidelined, the German unable to get the best out of his car.

Initially restricted to the garage after an early spin, Vettel completed another handful of laps before reporting an issue with his front axle, complaining that it felt "like jelly".

He reappeared late in the session, but despite being third on the timesheets, albeit 0.524s off Hamilton's pace, it was clear he wasn't happy.

As a result, Ferrari opted to change the chassis on the German's car, building a new monocoque overnight ready for scrutineering before FP3. This is despite finding no apparent issue with the old car.

"It was a messy afternoon, not an easy session," Vettel told reporters, "but the car is quick so no need to worry.

"The only lap I had was the one on the ultrasoft," he continued. "Before I made a mistake taking too much risk earlier in the session. I lost the rear into Turn 19, it was my mistake. So we lost that set of tyres.

"In the end, I felt something was not right with the car so we came in a couple of times to check, then go out and double check."

Even so, such is Hamilton's obvious determination to get things over and done with this weekend, Vettel and Ferrari have a massive task on their hands.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Austin, here.

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