Max Verstappen has topped the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, finishing the session two-tenths of a second faster than team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Both Red Bulls began the session on the medium compound tyre contrary to what rivals Mercedes chose to run, as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both ran the soft tyre before switch to the super softs.

Rosberg quickly made his way to the top of the timesheets once the super softs were fitted, replacing Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the timesheets who had completed the entire session on the red-banded tyre.

The German’s stint at the top was short-lived, however, as Ricciardo quickly demoted the German to second by seven-tenths of a second on the super softs.

Lewis Hamilton joined his team mate at the sharp end of the leaderboard on the soft compound, besting Rosberg’s time by three-tenths to slot into second position.

Although they were all beating by Verstappen’s best effort on a new set of super softs, as the teenager jumped to the top of the table with a 1:36.766, seven-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton’s best effort.

The reigning world champion left it late to return to the track to respond to Verstappen’s time, crossing the line with literally a second to spare to start his final flying lap. However, Hamilton was forced to abort his lap after the first sector having run into traffic.

Rosberg had also been on a flying lap and looked to challenge Verstappen’s best time until he pulled into the pits before he was able to complete his lap, which saw him finish the session down in fifth position.

Having spent most of the session well off the frontrunners pace, Ferrari managed to finish in the top three thanks to Raikkonen’s best time of 1:37.284, although they were still half a second off Verstappen’s benchmark.

Raikkonen’s team mate Vettel was further down the order in sixth, 1.1 seconds slower than the Red Bulls.

A red flag disrupted this morning’s proceedings after Pascal Wehrlein lost the back end of his Manor and spun off the circuit, leaving the young German beached in the gravel trap.

Carlos Sainz also experienced a troubled session as he ran into two punctures in the first half an hour of FP3. The Toro Rosso driver was only able to complete six laps due to a right then left rear puncture, but still managed to finish in 15th position despite the issues.

Nico Hulkenberg edged out Valtteri Bottas for seventh place, while both McLaren’s again made a top ten appearance as Jenson Button led team mate Fernando Alonso in ninth.

Image via Red Bull Content Pool

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Josh Kruse

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