Sergio Pérez went fastest in the third free practice session at the 2021 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin. Carlos Sainz was in second position and Max Verstappen was in third position at the end of the session.
The sixty-minute long second free practice session started under hot conditions with air temperatures at 28 degrees C and track temperatures at 37 degrees C.
The drivers were sat in the garage at the start of the session in a bid to preserve as may sets of new tyres for the race. The hot temperatures and track conditions could lead to a two-stop race and a battle of attrition.
Sebastian Vettel was the first driver on the track on the medium compound tyres and pitted after the installation laps. Fernando Alonso was the next driver on track on the soft compound tyres. The Spaniard had a less than ideal Friday and was on his qualification simulation early in the session.
After ten minutes of the session, Lewis Hamilton and the other drivers were out on the track. Hamilton went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m35.814s.
Mick Schumacher slotted into second position, 1.8 seconds slower than Hamilton. Sergio Pérez soon displaced Hamilton at the top of the time charts before Hamilton went 0.062 seconds faster to retake first position.
Charles Leclerc slotted into third position just 0.117 seconds slower than Hamilton. Bottas had his fast lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.
With thirty minutes to go, Verstappen on his first flying lap went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m35.207s, 0.364s quicker than Hamilton. Pérez then slotted into second position just 0.001 seconds slower than Verstappen.
Verstappen further improved on his lap time and increased the gap to Pérez by 0.296 seconds. Bottas and George Russell had to endure through spins and returned to the pits.
Bottas finally got in a legitimate lap and was just 0.076 seconds slower than Verstappen. Carlos Sainz with a lap time of 1m34.805s took first position, 0.107 seconds faster than Verstappen.
Lando Norris with a good lap took third position behind Verstappen. Pérez with a lap time of 1m34.701s was back on top with ten minutes of the session to go.
Verstappen and then Hamilton went fastest but had their lap times deleted for exceeding track limits.
The qualification session is going to be very close between the top contenders. The extremely hot conditions and the track temperatures is also going to play a big role in who takes pole position.
2021 United States GP FP3 Results:
|1||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:34.701||13|
|2||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:34.805||+0.104s||16|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:34.912||+0.211s||13|
|4||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:34.945||+0.244s||13|
|5||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:34.988||+0.287s||15|
|6||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:35.219||+0.518s||16|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:35.345||+0.644s||11|
|8||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:35.398||+0.697s||17|
|9||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:35.688||+0.987s||17|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:35.711||+1.010s||10|
|11||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:35.851||+1.150s||18|
|12||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:36.023||+1.322s||9|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:36.062||+1.361s||20|
|14||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:36.118||+1.417s||8|
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:36.252||+1.551s||16|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:36.392||+1.691s||13|
|17||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:36.490||+1.789s||12|
|18||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:36.572||+1.871s||16|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:36.671||+1.970s||15|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||2:03.456||+28.755s||15|