Getty Images

Hamilton edges out Vettel to cap off USGP practice sweep

Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of Formula 1 practice for the United States Grand Prix by edging out championship rival Sebastian Vettel in FP3 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

Hamilton led the way in wet and dry conditions on Friday through both practice sessions, but was forced to dig deep in FP3 in order to beat Vettel after the Ferrari driver made a big step forward overnight.

Hamilton was able to record a fastest lap time of 1:34.478 – a new track record at COTA – to finish 0.092 seconds clear of Vettel, setting the stage for a close qualifying session later today.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, took third after lapping two-tenths of a second slower, while Kimi Raikkonen ended FP3 fourth for Ferrari on Saturday afternoon.

Max Verstappen led Red Bull’s charge in fifth place, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished a lowly ninth after running off the circuit on a late flying lap.

Felipe Massa led the close-knit midfield in sixth for Williams, beating the Renault pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. Behind Ricciardo, Sergio Perez completed the top 10 for Force India.

Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley continued to get to grips with his car, completing another 26 laps en route to P15 ahead of his first F1 qualifying session later today. Teammate Daniil Kvyat was resigned to the garage for much of FP3 due to an issue, completing just six laps in total.

Romain Grosjean was also limited for track time after spinning off the circuit and beaching his Haas VF-17 car in the gravel, forcing him to abandon it and end his session early. The Frenchman finished 19th overall with just nine laps completed.

Qualifying for the United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5pm ET today, with a re-air of FP3 on NBCSN at 4pm.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”