Lewis Hamilton’s dominance of the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix continued into Saturday with the Mercedes driver posting the fastest time in final practice at the Circuit of the Americas.

After sweeping to top spot in both of Friday’s practice sessions, the Englishman further lowered the Austin circuit’s unofficial lap record in the field final one-hour hit-out before qualifying later this afternoon.

His time of 1:34.478 put him just 0.092 seconds ahead of his chief championship rival, Sebastian Vettel, in a tightly fought session where the German found significant pace gains overnight after switching to a new chassis.

Their respective teammates, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen, both lapped a couple of tenths slower and finished third- and fourth-fastest. They managed to displace the Red Bull Racing entries, which both seemed to slip back in the warmer conditions.

Max Verstappen led the Milton Keynes team’s charge in fifth place, despite a wild moment through the Esses on a fast run. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo was unable to unlock the better pace from a switch to Ultra Soft tyres and finished a lowly ninth-fastest behind Williams’ Felipe Massa and the Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. Behind Ricciardo, Force India’s Sergio Pérez rounded out the top ten.

Battling with an unspecified illness this weekend, Pérez’s teammate Esteban Ocon struck traffic on his final run and finished eleventh-fastest.

The second Williams Mercedes of rookie driver Lance Stroll finished twelfth-fastest as he continues to unlock more pace this weekend. The Canadian did, however, miss out on track running during the early stages of the session.

The McLaren Hondas slipped back as rival teams were able to run their engines in qualifying-style mode. Fernando Alonso finished narrowly ahead of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, while Toro Rosso rookie Brendon Hartley was a solid fifteenth fastest.

Kevin Magnussen led the charge for the Haas F1 Team at its home race, albeit in a lowly sixteenth, while teammate Romain Grosjean’s torrid weekend continued when he beached his VF-17 in the Turn 7 gravel trap and triggered a brief Virtual Safety Car period.

Grosjean’s woes promoted the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein off their customary bottom two positions on the timesheets. The Swiss team’s drivers also finished ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who complained of heavy steering in his Toro Rosso STR12.

Saturday’s qualifying session will begin at 16:00 local time (GMT -5).


2017 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS
Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:34.478 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
2. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:34.570 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
3. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:34.692 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:34.755 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
5. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:35.103 Pirelli Ultra Soft 14
6. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:35.346 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
7. Nico Hülkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:35.608 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
8. Carlos Sainz Jr es Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:35.650 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
9. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:35.723 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
10. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:35.802 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
11. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:35.965 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
12. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:36.118 Pirelli Ultra Soft 12
13. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:36.239 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
14. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:36.599 Pirelli Ultra Soft 14
15. Brendon Hartley nz Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:36.818 Pirelli Ultra Soft 26
16. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:37.271 Pirelli Super Soft 16
17. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:37.319 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
18. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:37.807 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
19. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:37.891 Pirelli Super Soft 9
20. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:38.500 Pirelli Super Soft 6

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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