FP3: Perez fastest in final practice, Verstappen and Hamilton lose their best lap times

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

Red Bull's Mexican driver Sergio Perez continued where he left off yesterday, by setting the benchmark in the third and final practice session for the Unites States Grand Prix. The two championship protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton posted faster lap times than Perez's benchmark, but they both had their best time deleted.

In Free Practice 3, conditions were similar to those experienced during yesterday’s afternoon session, although temperatures were slightly dropping in the closing stages of the session. The first minutes of the practice saw Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel conduct some installation laps while the rest of the field was waiting patiently in the garages.

The reason was obvious: the majority of the drivers were desperate to save the C2 and C3 compounds for Sunday’s race that is expected to require at least two stops, which forced the drivers to use the red-walled soft compound in FP3. However, the C4 compound provided drivers with the best grip on the first hot lap, meaning that there was no reason to put stress on the race components on worn tyres.

In the end, Sergio Perez set the ultimate benchmark of 1m34.701s which was better than Bottas’ and the Mexican's benchmarks in Friday’s first and second practice. However, there were faster times in the session.

Max Verstappen fell foul of track limits as he lost his benchmark of 1m34.383s for exceeding the track limits at the penultimate corner. The Dutchman ended up third fastest with his best time that he posted on his first set of soft tyres. His championship rival Lewis Hamilton also had his time of 1m34.458s deleted for a Turn 9 violation.

Valtteri Bottas had a difficult morning at Austin with the Finn exceeding the track limits on his first push lap. The Mercedes driver then span around on his second lap, flat-spotting his first set of softs. He got his act together on his second set of C4 compound, posting a time of 1m34.988s, ending up P5.

Charles Leclerc took only ninth, 0.987s off the pace for Ferrari after losing his best lap time for a track limits violation. However, his team mate Carlos Sainz impressed with his outright speed, registering the second fastest lap time with a 1m34.805s.

The McLaren’s duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were fast again following the changes they completed after the opening session on Firday. The Briton and the Asstrialian set the fourth and seventh fastest lap time respectively.

AlphaTauri's Tsunoda finished down in P18, ahead of Haas's Mick Schumacher (P19) and Nikita Mazepin (P20) in this session.


111Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda1:34.70113
255Carlos SainzFerrari1:34.805+0.104s16
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:34.912+0.211s13
44Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:34.945+0.244s13
577Valtteri BottasMercedes1:34.988+0.287s15
644Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:35.219+0.518s16
73Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:35.345+0.644s11
810Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Honda1:35.398+0.697s17
916Charles LeclercFerrari1:35.688+0.987s17
1031Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:35.711+1.010s10
115Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes1:35.851+1.150s18
1263George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:36.023+1.322s9
137Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:36.062+1.361s20
146Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:36.118+1.417s8
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:36.252+1.551s16
1618Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes1:36.392+1.691s13
1714Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:36.490+1.789s12
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda1:36.572+1.871s16
1947Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:36.671+1.970s15
209Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari2:03.456+28.755s15