Formula 1

Pérez tops third free practice ahead of Sainz and Verstappen at the United States Grand Prix

2 Mins read
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

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:

PosNoDriverNat.TeamTimeGapLaps
111Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1:34.70113
255Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:34.805+0.104s16
333Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:34.912+0.211s13
44Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:34.945+0.244s13
577Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:34.988+0.287s15
644Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:35.219+0.518s16
73Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:35.345+0.644s11
810Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:35.398+0.697s17
916Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:35.688+0.987s17
1031Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:35.711+1.010s10
115Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:35.851+1.150s18
1263George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:36.023+1.322s9
137Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:36.062+1.361s20
146Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:36.118+1.417s8
1599Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:36.252+1.551s16
1618Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:36.392+1.691s13
1714Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:36.490+1.789s12
1822Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:36.572+1.871s16
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:36.671+1.970s15
209Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team2:03.456+28.755s15
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