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FP3 - Red Bull one-two in final Austin session

22 Oct 2016

Max Verstappen was fastest from Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo in Saturday morning’s third practice for the 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg - neither of whom completed a hot, timed lap on the quickest supersoft tyre - fourth and fifth.

PRACTICE THREE RESULTS

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing 1:36.766 16
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Red Bull Racing 1:37.032 +0.266s 19
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen RAI Ferrari 1:37.284 +0.518s 15
4 44 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:37.483 +0.717s 12
5 6 Nico Rosberg ROS Mercedes 1:37.784 +1.018s 10
6 5 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari 1:37.894 +1.128s 8
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg HUL Force India 1:37.948 +1.182s 17
8 77 Valtteri Bottas BOT Williams 1:38.188 +1.422s 16
9 22 Jenson Button BUT McLaren 1:38.212 +1.446s 14
10 14 Fernando Alonso ALO McLaren 1:38.452 +1.686s 13

Suspected transmission problems limited Sebastian Vettel’s running in the second Ferrari and he was sixth ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. The McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.

Neither of the Silver Arrows appeared for some time, even after the session had been red flagged after only 17 minutes when Pascal Wehrlein put his Manor off into the gravel in Turn 19.

Verstappen, meanwhile, had a clean run on the supersoft Pirellis to post 1m 36.76s, and that remained the fastest time of the hour-long session as only team mate Ricciardo, on 1m 37.032s, and Ferrari’s Raikkonen on 1m 37.284s, got really clear runs as well.

When he finally appeared Hamilton did 1m 37.483s, his FP2 brake problems alleviated, but met traffic. So did Rosberg on his way to 1m 37.784s and Sebastian Vettel with 1m 37.894s.

With five minutes to go Rosberg aborted a qualifying simulation after setting a new sector two mark, and with two minutes to go Hamilton was going well until he came up behind the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. He backed off one attempt and beat the chequered flag by nano-seconds to begin a second, but aborted that run too with the message to his team, “Really cool timing, guys.”

It will thus have to wait until qualifying before we see what cards everyone in the top three teams really have in their hands.

Hulkenberg was again in strong form for Force India with 1m 37.948s, as Bottas headed the McLarens of Button and Alonso.

As the times in the midfield were again super-close, Carlos Sainz created the only other drama when he sustained not one but two rear punctures, on separate occasions. He finished 15th just behind team mate Daniil Kvyat, who was this morning confirmed as his partner again at Toro Rosso for 2017.