FP3: Russell heads Piastri and Sargeant during final practice session in Las Vegas
George Russell led the way in the final hour of practice at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, as the Mercedes driver topped the timesheets in a session that was red-flagged in the final minutes, preventing some from completing their flying runs.
After a shortened FP1 followed by an extended second practice session on the opening day of action, the drivers returned to the Las Vegas Strip Circuit on Friday night for another opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new 6.201-kilometre venue.
The early laps saw a range of tyre compounds used, along with the occasional excursion; Zhou Guanyu was among those to suffer a lock-up, with front-locking proving to be an issue for some at the circuit, while Kevin Magnussen engaged in some wheel-to-wheel action with Charles Leclerc following a brief run off-track for the Haas.
Some seemed to be struggling with the low-grip conditions but, as the hour reached its halfway mark, Leclerc looked to be continuing his pace-setting form from Thursday by exchanging fast laps with team mate Carlos Sainz.
FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX 2023
United States 2023
Practice 3 results
|1 George Russell RUS Mercedes||1:34.093|
|2 Oscar Piastri PIA McLaren||+0.398s|
|3 Logan Sargeant SAR Williams||+0.552s|
|4 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+0.560s|
|5 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing||+0.613s|
It wasn’t long before Red Bull showed their hand as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez took over at the top. Verstappen went quickest with a time of 1m 34.653s, still on his original set of hard compound tyres.
As the session wore on and the track continued to evolve, the field bolted on the soft tyre as they turned their focus to one-lap pace. Some occasional off-track moments started to creep in; even the world champion was not immune, having run off at Turn 12 during a flying lap.
There was drama for Alex Albon when the Williams hit the barriers in the final minutes of FP3, losing a tyre in the process and bringing out the red flags. It was then confirmed that the session would not be resumed.
This meant that Russell remained at the top of the board with a time of 1m 34.093s, three-tenths ahead of Oscar Piastri in second while Logan Sargeant – who earlier had narrowly avoided clipping the wall himself – took third.
Verstappen and Perez were left in fourth and fifth respectively after a low-key day for Red Bull on Thursday, while Albon was in sixth ahead of Fernando Alonso in seventh and Lewis Hamilton in P8. Valtteri Bottas and Magnussen rounded out the top 10.
Lando Norris in 11th was ahead of Nico Hulkenberg – running a different car specification to his team mate – in 12th, with Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Zhou following in 13th, 14th and 15th.
Leclerc and Sainz lost out to the red flags, having been unable to complete their flying runs on the soft tyre. They ended the session in P16 and P17 respectively.
It was a quiet day for AlphaTauri. Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo sat in 18th and 20th, with the Alpine of Pierre Gasly sandwiched between them.
With all of the weekend’s practice sessions complete, the teams and drivers will now have a final chance to debrief and finalise their set-ups ahead of qualifying later on, which takes place at midnight local time.