Vettel leads Ferrari one-two in USGP practice 3

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari made the most of the dry running to top the final hour ahead of qualifying, with Sebastian Vettel leading teammate Kimi Raikkonen by just 0.046s – and title rival Lewis Hamilton by only 0.073s.

After the leading trio there was a gap of over half a second back to Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Then came Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Force India’s Sergio Perez, with Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’s Romain Grosjean completing the top ten.

With the teams needing to do both race and qualifying preparation work, few drivers spent much time in the garage, and all three tire compounds saw their fair share of action. The varied programs also meant that not too much should perhaps be read into the lap times.

At the start of the session a 20 percent chance of rain was forecast, but mercifully it stayed away and it was Ferrari who set the early pace on the ultrasoft tires, with Raikkonen initially heading Vettel.

Bottas then all but matched them on the supersofts midway through the hour, before the scarlet cars pulled clear once more on the quicker, purple-marked rubber – the only compound the Scuderia ran. Late, ultrasoft runs from all then saw the times close right up at the top.

In a relatively drama-free session, Brendon Hartley had an early surprise when the aero-fairing came away from his Toro Rosso’s cockpit halo, brushing the New Zealander’s helmet as it flew off. He was also the only man to spin, when he lost the rear of his car through the penultimate turn in the dying minutes.

And as team mate Pierre Gasly did on Friday, Hartley has now taken on Honda’s latest power unit updates, meaning that – like the Frenchman – he too will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid.

Practice 3 Results

1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.797 +0.000s 20
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:33.843 +0.046s 21
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.870 +0.073s 23
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.556 +0.759s 21
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Renault 1:34.703 +0.906s 21
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 1:34.910 +1.113s 20
7 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:35.365 +1.568s 21
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:35.411 +1.614s 21
9 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:35.450 +1.653s 21
10 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:35.468 +1.671s 19
11 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:35.562 +1.765s 22
12 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:35.713 +1.916s 27
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:35.770 +1.973s 19
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:35.882 +2.085s 19
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:36.000 +2.203s 21
16 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:36.188 +2.391s 21
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:36.193 +2.396s 20
18 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:36.302 +2.505s 23
19 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:36.330 +2.533s 26
20 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:36.332 +2.535s 20

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