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FP3: Verstappen leads Leclerc and Sainz in final Austin practice session

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the timesheets during final practice for the United States Grand Prix, finishing comfortably clear of Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz thanks to a late flying lap.

At a hot but windy Circuit of The Americas, Verstappen bounced back from a mistake at the start of his qualifying-style run on the soft compound tyre to pump in a 1m 35.825s – some three-tenths quicker than Leclerc managed.

READ MORE: Leclerc and Alonso receive grid penalties at COTA

Leclerc was left to rue a “very, very messy lap” on the red-marked rubber, with the Monegasque also bracing himself for a 10-place grid penalty after taking on a new engine and turbocharger ahead of qualifying.

Sainz was a tenth further back in third, with Sergio Perez half a second off the pace in the other Red Bull, as he also prepares to drop five places on the grid due to an engine change.

United States 2022

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:35.825
2LEC+0.32s
3SAI+0.446s
4PER+0.572s
5HAM+0.576s
View Full Results

Lap times aside, FP3 served as a much-needed routine outing after several drivers missed opening practice to give rookies some F1 track time and Friday’s second session focused on prototype 2023 tyre testing for Pirelli.

Behind the top four, Lewis Hamilton was the ‘best of the rest’ for Mercedes, while Fernando Alonso – another driver with an engine penalty – split the Silver Arrows by putting his Alpine in front of George Russell.

READ MORE: FP1 debutants Pourchaire, Palou, Sargeant and Shwartzman reflect on ‘amazing’ first session in Texas

Aston Martin enjoyed another encouraging session, as Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll took P8 and P9 respectively (the only negative being a pit lane speeding fine for the latter), with Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 10 positions in his AlphaTauri.

Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris led the charge for their respective Alfa Romeo and McLaren teams, followed by the other Alpine of Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

FP3 marked the final chance for drivers and teams to tweak their cars ahead of qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) complained of brake issues midway through the session but appeared to get over them en route to P15, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Williams pair Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi.

Technical issues for Haas driver Mick Schumacher (ERS water pump) and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu (yet to be determined) saw the pair bring up the rear of the 20-strong field.

READ MORE: Capito says Logan Sargeant will race for Williams in 2023 if he secures Super Licence points

Saturday’s all-important qualifying session begins at 1700 local time. Head to the RACE HUB to see how and when you can catch the action from Austin.

Who’s going to score in the 2022 United States Grand Prix? Pick your dream team before qualifying and take on the world to win huge prizes with the Official Formula 1 Fantasy game. Sign up, join leagues and manage your squad here.

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