Hamilton edges out Vettel to cap off USGP practice sweep

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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.