FP3: Verstappen fastest, Leclerc hits engine issue

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F1 Grand Prix, GP United States, Circuit of The Americasus

Max Verstappen was fastest in the final practice session at Circuit Of The Americas (COTA), with Ferrari's Vettel his closest competitor, little more than two tenths slower than the Red Bull driver.

Perhaps the more important news of the session was Charles Leclerc engine issue which forced him to park his Ferrari already in Turn 19 on only his second lap. Smoke drifted from the back of his Ferrari. "There's something wrong with the engine," he radioed before walking back to the paddock.

The car was later diagnosed with an oil leak, following which the team decided to change the engine to an older, used, engine, to avoid a penalty for the remainder of the race weekend. It also means a switch to an older specification.

Beyond that, there were few big events, apart from the usual jumping of the bumps at COTA, for which there was lots of criticism on Friday. Many teams focused on improving the ride over these bumps after they arrived with setups too stiff to reasonably handle the bumps.

Behind Vettel in second, Lando Norris warned competitors that McLaren is very much in the fight, and may well be leading the best of the rest once again, despite a somewhat anonymous Friday.

Bottas and Hamilton put Mercedes 4th and 5th, followed by Albon in the second Red Bull, and Sainz in the second McLaren.

Kimi Raikkonen put Alfa Romeo in the top 10, edging out Pierre Gasly who continued to do well for Toro Rosso. Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg split the standings in half, and might be aware that McLaren are too far ahead this weekend to close in to 4th position in the Constructor's Championship.

Qualifying later today is expected to be a tight battle, with the gaps between the top three teams seemingly very narrow.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:33.305-13
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1:33.523+0.218s17
34Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:33.818+0.513s14
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:33.904+0.599s17
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:33.923+0.618s16
623Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda1:33.983+0.678s14
755Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault1:34.408+1.103s15
87Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:34.513+1.208s18
910Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:34.517+1.212s14
103Daniel RicciardoRenault1:34.774+1.469s11
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1:34.784+1.479s11
1218Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:34.792+1.487s14
138Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:34.849+1.544s17
1426Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:35.129+1.824s16
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:35.305+2.000s14
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:35.956+2.651s15
1763George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:36.256+2.951s15
1888Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes1:36.628+3.323s17
1911Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:38.426+5.121s22
2016Charles LeclercFerrari--1