Sebastian Vettel fastest in final practice for U.S. Grand Prix

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AUSTIN, Texas — Sebastian Vettel topped the last practice at the U.S. Grand Prix on Saturday, offering a taste of Ferrari power in what could be a last-ditch effort to deny Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton the season championship.

Vettel must beat championship leader Hamilton or at least finish within seven points of him on Sunday to extend the title chase to Mexico City next week.

Vettel also is facing a three-spot starting grid penalty assessed Friday for driving too fast under a red flag in practice. That means Vettel can start no higher than fourth on Sunday.

Hamilton was third in the final practice, behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton leads Vettel by 67 points in the championship with four races to go. A fifth career title would tie him with Juan Manuel Fangio for the second most championships in Formula One history.