COTA, FP3: Verstappen quickest in final practice for US Grand Prix

As Leclerc and Alonso set for grid drop


By Franck Drui

22 October 2022 - 22:14
COTA, FP3: Verstappen quickest in (...)

Max Verstappen topped the time sheet in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, beating Charles Leclerc by three tenths of a second. Leclerc, though, is set for a grid penalty for the race having changed a number of power unit elements.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was the first to lay down a significant marker at the start of the session, with the Spanish driver posting a lap of 1:38.591 on medium compound Pirellis tyres.

Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez then jumped ahead on soft tyres running almost a second quicker than Sainz. Leclerc then made his first impression, stealing top spot with his opening effort of 1:37.471 set on soft tyres.

Verstappen slotted into P2 just six hundredths of a second off the Ferrari drivers. Leclerc went for another run and lowered the benchmark to 1:37.083 but Verstappen was also on another flying lap and when the Dutchman crossed the line he did so in 1:36.706 to reclaim P1.

Sainz, still running medium tyres, took P2 with a good lap just under two tenths off Verstappen but Leclerc completed another run on softs and moved back to second, just 0.059s behind Verstappen. Verstappen reappeared but the Dutch driver was on a long run. That lef the way clear for Pérez to claim top spot on softs with the lap of 1:36.578.

In the final 15 of the session the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers bolted on new softs for qualifying simulations. After a scruffy opening flyer that he eventually abandoned Verstappen moved back to top spot with a lap of 1:36.223. Leclerc couldn’ty match that initially but he too went for a second lap and this time he took P1 with a lap of 1:36.145.

Verstappen, wasn’t finished, however and after a cool-down lap put in another flying lap. He went purple in all three sectors to take P1 in 1:35.835, 0.320s clear of Leclerc and with Sainz 0.446s off the pace.

Pérez who will take a five-place penalty for switching out his engine on Friday, finished fourth ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso sixth. George Russell finished seventh in the second Mercedes ahead of Aston Martin pair Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, with Pierre Gasly 10th for AlphaTauri.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:35.825 22
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:36.145 18
03 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:36.271 24
04 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:36.297 20
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:36.401 17
06 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:36.928 14
07 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:37.064 21
08 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:37.151 19
09 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:37.215 20
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:37.290 18
11 Valtteri Bottas Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:37.310 21
12 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:37.449 19
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:37.468 18
14 Kevin Magnussen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:37.519 21
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:37.622 16
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:37.888 19
17 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:37.904 18
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:38.028 18
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:38.132 12
20 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:39.735 3

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