Lewis Hamilton came away from his first evening on track in Las Vegas impressed by the speed he was able to get out of the Mercedes, despite chilly night time conditions and a slippery circuit.
“We’re travelling at some serious speeds out there,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after he ended second practice in ninth on the timesheets. “It’s incredibly fast and it’s a lot of fun, I had so much fun today."
Overall, things hadn't gone to plan on Thursday, with FP1 abandoned after a water valve cover came loose and damaged the floors of two cars just nine minutes into the session.
But after a track inspection and repairs, FP2 went ahead without further incident with Hamilton happy to complete 42 laps during the extended 90-minute session despite the late hour.
“I’m so glad we did get to run again, they did a great job to fix it and it was an interesting session," Hamilton said. "I just watched a movie in the break and I feel great and ready to go again.
"Everyone’s struggling with jet lag and all that stuff and I feel really great," he reported. "The balance of the car wasn't too bad, and on similar tyres I don't feel that we're too far off compared to our competitors.
“It’s going to be interesting," he continued, when asked what he was expecting from the rest of the weekend. "Qualifying position will be really important and then obviously degradation is going to be key.
"It looks like everyone is suffering from graining and we were running out of tyres; I think everyone was in a similar boat. That's likely due to a combination of a new track surface and the temperature.
"We are also running a low downforce set-up, so you are sliding through a lot of the slow-speed corners, and some of the high-speed corners too," he added. “But I had a blast!"
His team mate George Russell was similarly upbeat about the team's prospects for the weekend despite ending the first day in 12th place on the timesheets.
"It was good to finally get going after quite a long day," he beamed. "It was great to take to the track properly in FP2.
“It’s a very fast circuit, the highest top speeds of the year probably, and obviously racing at night is pretty spectacular,” he said. “I think it's going to be an interesting race weekend.
“It’s difficult to get a true representation because some people did two sets of new softs, we only did one set, but I think it's going to be dominated by race pace.
“Every lap you do you are learning," he continued, saying there had already been a lot of track evolution. "The track was evolving very quickly; the early laps were like driving on ice.
"As the dirt and the dust cleared you were learning, you are all going faster, the track is getting faster, your braking points are changing," he explained.
“It’s tricky when you are going 230mph into those braking zones, picking your braking point with very little downforce on the car," he admitted. "But it was good fun out there.
"Ultimately race pace will be key," he stated. "It was hard to get a true idea of where we are relative to others given we only took one new set of Soft tyres, where others took two."
As for his plans, Russell was keen to catch up on some much needed time in bed: "I'm looking forward to getting some sleep now and coming back for FP3 later today."