Las Vegas, FP3: Russell quickest in final practice

Piastri 2nd, Sargeant 3rd

By Franck Drui

18 November 2023 - 06:36
Las Vegas, FP3: Russell quickest in (…)

George Russell went quickest in the final practice for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Lass Vegas Grand Prix, beating McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by almost four tenths of a second in a session that ended early following a late crash involving Alex Albon.

The pace in the early part of the final hour or practice was set by Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and it wasn’t until the second third of the session that rivals emerged to put press on the Ferrari duo.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez were late to the action but when they did begiun to put in times it was Pérez who took top spot thanks to a lap of 1:35.146. Verstappen was improving, however, and the world champion quickly shouldered his team-mate out of P1 thanks to a lap of 1:34.653, more than half a second clear of the Mexican.

Albon then bolted on a set of Soft tyres to jump up the timesheet and the Williams driver took place ahead of both Ferrari drivers.

After a brief lull more improvements arrives as track evolution kicked in and drivers embarked on performance runs. Russell beat Verstappen’s benchmark by 0.068s. Piastri then jumped ahead of Russell before the Mercedes driver got down to 1:34.093 to take P1 for the final time before Albon’s crash.

The Williams driver got momentarily out of shape into Turn 5 and though he tried to correct he hit the wall with the front left and then harder with the rear left of his car. He tried to limp back to the pit lane but lost the rear left wheel on his way back and was forced to pull over at the side of the track. With the dislodged wheel resting against the wall and with Albon’s car parked in a run-off area the red flags came out. And with four minutes left on the clock, race officials ruled that the session would not be resumed.

Albon’s misfortune left the door open for team-mate Logan Sargeant and the American driver took P3 ahead of Verstappen, Pérez and Albon.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was seventh ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas and Magnussen rounding out the top 10. Leclerc and Sainz set the best times at the top of the session and as such the gradually slid down the order as the track improved and they focused more on long running. Leclerc took P16 with his team-mate directly behind.

01 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:34.093 23
02 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:34.491 20
03 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:34.645 17
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:34.653 14
05 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:34.706 13
06 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:34.726 14
07 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:34.798 18
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:34.853 24
09 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:34.908 18
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:35.067 18
11 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:35.089 17
12 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:35.112 17
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:35.253 20
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:35.297 15
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:35.881 15
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:35.908 22
17 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:35.939 21
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:36.087 15
19 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:36.485 12
20 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:37.778 15


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