Williams posts a loss for 2012

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Williams posted a $7.8m loss last year despite scoring its first F1 victory since 2004. The Formula One team reported its annual results for 2012 on Monday.

Chief executive officer Alex Burns noted that $14.59m in income from Formula One “has not been included in these results because of the technical interpretation of today’s accounting standards”.

Founder and team principal Sir Frank Williams said: “2012 saw Williams make encouraging progress on and off the track and we are determined to continue that upward trend in 2013.”

“The win at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix was a particular highlight and we continue to develop strong sponsorship partnerships and engineering relationships. At the end of the year the Williams F1 Team finished eighth in the FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship.”

“There is still a way to go for the team to get to where we should be, but improvements on previous seasons are evident.”

It’s been a period of mixed fortunes for Williams. Their win in Spain came after the surprise resignation of chairman Adam Parr. Over the remainder of the season they generally failed to deliver on the potential of the FW34.

The team has also lost chief operations engineer Mark Gillan since then and executive director Toto Wolff, who moved to Mercedes.

The loss of Sir Frank’s wife Virginia to cancer came on the eve of the new season. The team is yet to score a point in four races this year, but has a major upgrade planned for the next race at the scene of its 2012 triumph.

Hamilton leads damp first USGP practice at COTA, Hartley debuts

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive Formula 1 record at the Circuit of The Americas by topping opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday for Mercedes.

A four-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton set the pace in damp conditions in first practice after rain hit the Austin area in the lead-up to the start of the session.

After initially venturing out on intermediate tires, Hamilton made the switch to super-softs at the halfway point in FP1, ultimately posting a fastest time of 1:36.335.

Hamilton’s time saw him finish over half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Mercedes got two cars into the top three as Valtteri Bottas wound up third in the second W08 car, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth for Red Bull.

Felipe Massa led Williams into the top 10 with an impressive lap en route to fifth, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was left to lead McLaren’s charge after a hydraulic leak sidelined Fernando Alonso for much of the session, limiting the Spaniard to just four laps in total.

Force India managed to get both its drivers up into the top 10 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth respectively, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. who was P10 in his first appearance for the team.

Brendon Hartley enjoyed his first run-out in Toro Rosso’s STR12 car ahead of his grand prix debut on Sunday, taking P14 overall.

The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app from 3pm ET today.