Hamilton Fastest, Haas Misery Continues in US GP Free Practice 3

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Lewis Hamilton completed a hat-trick of fastest free practices in Austin this weekend, going a tenth of a second faster than Sebastian Vettel, while Haas’ troubled weekend continued with an accident for Romain Grosjean.

Vettel was keen to make up for lost time, having lost the majority of running time in yesterday’s second practice with a faulty axle, and queued behind Max Verstappen waiting for the lights to go green at the start of the session.

The Ferrari driver’s enthusiasm could not help abate the strong pace of Hamilton’s Mercedes, who not only went fastest overall, but continued to hold an advantage over team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was two tenths behind in third. It was also another new F1 track record for the Brit, breaking the benchmark set by himself during yesterday’s running.

Another theme to continue from yesterday was stability issues for the Haas cars. Both cars had spun in second practice while suffering with bargeboard issues, and exiting the set of high speed chicanes in the first sector at the halfway mark of final practice, Romain Grosjean dropped the rear of his car through Turn 7. His session immediately came to an end, beached in the gravel trap and causing a brief virtual safety car.

Felipe Massa was the ‘best of the rest’, pipping both Renaults for the sixth fastest time with only two minutes remaining. Their final positions were aided by Daniel Ricciardo making a mistake at Turn 9 on his last gasp glory run, putting him only ninth quickest. Both Force Indias spent all but the dying moments of the session on the less favoured supersoft compound.

Daniil Kvyat‘s return was made harder by an unspecified issue with the front of his Toro Rosso. Complaining of his steering suddenly going heavy, he pulled into the garage early and was sidelined for the remainder of the session.

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:34.47815
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1:34.570+0.09219
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1:34.692+0.21417
4Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:34.755+0.27717
5Max VerstappenRed Bull1:35.103+0.62514
6Felipe MassaWilliams1:35.346+0.86811
7Nico HülkenbergRenault1:35.608+1.13021
8Carlos Sainz Jr.Renault1:35.650+1.17216
9Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:35.723+1.24517
10Sergio PerezForce India1:35.802+1.32416
11Esteban OconForce India1:35.965+1.48717
12Lance StrollWilliams1:36.118+1.64012
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:35.239+1.76115
14Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:36.599+2.12114
15Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:36.818+2.34026
16Kevin MagnussenHaas1:37.271+2.79316
17Marcus EricssonSauber1:37.319+2.84117
18Pascal WehrleinSauber1:37.807+3.32915
19Romain GrosjeanHaas1:37.891+3.4139
20Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:38.500+4.0226