On Friday, there was an absolutely bizarre moment, which was pointed out by Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver was talking to Sky Sports when he noted that he could smell marijuana from his car during the practice sessions.
Out of the blue, he inquired about the legal situation of marijuana in the red state. In fact, local authorities are having problems after choosing to legalize minimal THC cannabis recently. However, marijuana itself remains illegal, but Texas police are finding hard to enforce the law.
In fact, Vettel reported that there was a strong smell “in turns 1 and 11”. The Sky reporter informed him that it was present even in the pit lane. Of course, being Sebastian Vettel, he could not resist cracking a joke.
Ha, Vettel's post-FP2 interview with Sky is GOLD:
Vettel: "Is marijuana legal in Texas?"
Ted: "Did you smell it on track today?"
Vettel: "Yes, like crazy! Turn 1 and Turn 11"
Ted: "In the pit lane as well. It's weird"
Vettel: "It's weed, not weird! I smelt it in the car"
— Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1) November 1, 2019
Coming to the on-track action, Sebastian Vettel was 2nd on the track, trailing Max Verstappen and in the middle of a Red Bull sandwich. Outside of the top three, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton strapped on soft rubber at the end of the session, as he ultimately wound up in a lowly P8. He was 1.382 seconds off Verstappen, having had a better lap deleted for going too wide at Turn 19.
For this race, the stewards were ruthless in terms of observing track limits, as several drivers had their lap times deleted. In the first session, the bumpy surface caught out several drivers, with only Romain Grosjean finding the barriers in FP2.
Meanwhile, McLaren’s Lando Norris had a scary moment when his head rest unexpectedly came loose. It was a nightmarish first session for Mercedes with Hamilton in 8th and team mate Valtteri Bottas was even further back, down in P17.
That left the midfield runners to enjoy life near the top of the timesheets, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly claiming P4, ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and the Haas of Romain Grosjean in sixth in FP1.