Hamilton edges out Vettel to cap off USGP practice sweep

Getty Images

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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III