Sebastian Vettel has continued his domination of Formula 1’s inaugural running at the Circuit of the Americas.
The reigning World Champion remained fastest in the final practice session, having been quickest in each of Friday’s practice sessions, and will now head into this afternoon’s qualifying session as an unbackable favourite to claim pole position.
Conditions were winter-like when the paddock stirred ahead of this morning’s practice session, which was run an hour earlier than usual as part of the event’s session being timed to suit the sport’s predominantly Europe-based TV audience. Just an hour before practice got underway at 9:00am local time, the mercury read -1°C (30°F)!
With conditions expected to differ vastly in the afternoon’s qualifying session, Vettel still went quickest overall, although this time with a margin of just a quarter of a second over Lewis Hamilton, while Pastor Maldonado popped into third-fastest in his Williams, half a second off Vettel’s best.
Vettel’s sole championship rival, Fernando Alonso, finished fourth-fastest in the Ferrari, followed by Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button.
Despite having plenty of Mexican fans make their way over the border to watch Perez, the Sauber driver blotted his copybook with a hopelessly clumsy passing move on Charles Pic, which saw the pair make contact.
The FIA stewards have elected to look into the matter, and given he’s already been hit with a fine and reprimand for various antics yesterday, one would expect the McLaren-bound driver to be given a grid penalty for this latest indiscretion.
2012 United States Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:36.490||18|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:36.748||+ 0.258||20|
|3.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:37.001||+ 0.511||21|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:37.180||+ 0.690||21|
|5.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:37.247||+ 0.757||24|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:37.262||+ 0.772||27|
|7.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:37.298||+ 0.808||18|
|8.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:37.415||+ 0.925||20|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:37.495||+ 1.005||20|
|10.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:37.538||+ 1.048||20|
|11.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:37.569||+ 1.079||21|
|12.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:37.760||+ 1.270||21|
|13.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:37.765||+ 1.275||26|
|14.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:37.953||+ 1.463||23|
|15.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:38.547||+ 2.057||23|
|16.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:38.653||+ 2.163||22|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:38.753||+ 2.263||11|
|18.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:39.689||+ 3.199||12|
|19.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:40.407||+ 3.917||13|
|20.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:40.753||+ 4.263||19|
|21.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:41.011||+ 4.521||19|
|22.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:41.466||+ 4.976||19|
|23.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:43.563||+ 7.073||21|
|24.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:44.043||+ 7.553||23|
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