FP3: Verstappen tops Red Bull 1-2


Max Verstappen topped the timesheets in final practice for the United States GP as Nico Rosberg pitted on his hot lap and Lewis Hamilton left it extremely late and caught traffic.

There were a few early incidents as the drivers finally got into the action for FP3. Nico Hulkenberg left the pits with his fuel flap open, Carlos Sainz suffered a “rear right” puncture and Pascal Wehrlein brought out the red flags.

The Manor driver, who was sorely lacking track time after sitting out FP1 for development driver Jordan King, went off at the penultimate corner on his fourth lap.

With his MR05 beached in the gravel, Wehrlein tried to get the marshals to push him out but, after a few minutes, finally climbed out of his car and called it quits.

Back underway after a 7-minute red flag situation, Ferrari grabbed the 1-2 with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Kimi Raikonen only for Nico Rosberg to take P1 and then Daniel Ricciardo.

On the supersoft tyres the Red Bull racer clocked a 1:37.032 while Lewis Hamilton, using the soft tyres and a new fuel system as Mercedes changed his overnight, slotted into second place, 0.451s down.

Heading out for a second run Sainz suffered another puncture, this time a rear left and once again crawled his back to the pits.

As the supersoft tyre runs began Max Verstappen was the first to improve as he went from P8 on the mediums to P1 with a 1:36.766 making it a Red Bull 1-2. Raikkonen moved up to third place while there was some confusion as to Mercedes’ programme.

Rosberg pulled into the pits on his hot lap instead of completing it, he was 0.073s down in the middle sector, and Hamilton left it so late literally crossed the line a second before the chequered flag.

The Brit, though, caught traffic in the form of a Sauber and pitted without doing a flying lap on the supersofts.

The session ended with Verstappen quickest ahead of Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas.

Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.

1. M. Verstappen Red Bull 1:36.766 16 laps
2. D. Ricciardo Red Bull 1:37.032 19 laps
3. K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37.284 15 laps
4. L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.483 12 laps
5. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.784 10 laps
6. S. Vettel Ferrari 1:37.894 8 laps
7. N. Hulkenberg Force India 1:37.948 17 laps
8. V. Bottas Williams 1:38.188 16 laps
9. J. Button McLaren 1:38.212 14 laps
10. F. Alonso McLaren 1:38.452 13 laps
11. S. Perez Force India 1:38.512 16 laps
12. J. Palmer Renault 1:38.528 14 laps
13. F. Massa Williams 1:38.607 15 laps
14. D. Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:38.691 16 laps
15. C. Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:38.710 6 laps
16. E. Gutiérrez Haas 1:38.939 13 laps
17. R. Grosjean Haas 1:39.097 13 laps
18. K. Magnussen Renault 1:39.105 14 laps
19. M. Ericsson Sauber 1:39.239 14 laps
20. F. Nasr Sauber 1:39.509 14 laps
21. E. Ocon Manor 1:39.771 19 laps
22. P. Wehrlein Manor 1:41.427 7 laps