Formula One has been looking to expand in the U.S. since the U.S. Grand Prix was revived in 2012 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Bottas, who has out-qualified Hamilton at four of the past six races, held the advantage once more with a record-breaking lap of Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
The Finn was 0.849 seconds quicker than Hamilton, although Bottas was using a softer tyre than the world champion when they set their fastest times.
Race will be first for Red Bulls after collision between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in Azerbaijan. His next run on the same set was cleaner, making him the fastest driver on the super-soft tyre, but still far from the full potential of the compound.
The contest this weekend is also likely to be seen as a solid indicator for the season ahead as it is regarded as a "bellwether" circuit which, by Sunday night, will have seen how all of the top teams have progressed with their extensive packages of upgrades following the opening four flyaway races.
Ricciardo, who crashed with Verstappen in Azerbaijan, had a tough start to his weekend in Barcelona by hitting a tre barrier midway through the first session, losing a lot of track time.
At the wrong end of the timing screens were Williams, with a tricky start to the weekend for the team slightly overshadowing Robert Kubica's return to competitive F1 action for the first time in over seven years. People can write that it's because I didn't do testing, but I did every test a year ago, I did the end of season test, the mid-season test, which I really don't like doing.
Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc took 11th and 12th respectively - and nearly came together along the pit straight towards the end of the session, with Leclerc having to jink right to avoid the Haas driver.
The course features a loop around AmericanAirlines Arena, a segment on Biscayne Boulevard with some tight turns near Bayside Marketplace and long runs across Port Boulevard Bridge to the Port of Miami and back to the mainland.
"In the end it's hard to say that it was enjoyable because our vehicle balance was very bad and it was very hard to drive, so it was hard to enjoy", Kubica said.
Conditions were clearly hard as Bottas, Vettel and Marcus Ericsson all had early spins at different parts on the circuit before Brendon Hartley and Romain Grosjean took trips through the Turn 4 gravel. "It sounds odd that you can be happy with P19, but actually I'm happy".
Perez's session came to a premature end as he stopped on track with 13 minutes remaining with a loose front-left wheel after a pitstop.
When the session resumed it was but a short respite as Williams Lance Stroll lost it at Turn 5, prompting another virtual safety auto.
Brendon Hartley took a trip through the gravel at Turn 4 in his Toro Rosso and was followed soon after by Romain Grosjean in the Haas.
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