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||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:34.478||15|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:34.570||19|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:34.692||17|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:34.755||17|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:35.103||14|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:35.346||11|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:35.608||21|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:35.650||16|
|9.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:35.723||17|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:35.802||16|
|11.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:35.965||17|
|12.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:36.118||12|
|13.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:36.239||15|
|14.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:36.599||14|
|15.||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:36.818||26|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:37.271||16|
|17.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:37.319||17|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:37.807||15|
|19.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:37.891||9|
|20.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:38.500||6|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team