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Vettel fastest in final US GP practice

Sebastian Vettel led team-mate Mark Webber as Red Bull set the pace in final practice for the United States Grand Prix
Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull continued their dominance of the United States Grand Prix weekend by setting the pace in final practice. Lewis Hamilton was third fastest for Mercedes, ahead of the leading Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg.

The track temperature at the start of the session was a chilly 20 degrees Celcius, which is quite a bit cooler than it will be in this afternoon's qualfiying session, assuming the rains stays away. There is a chance of showers during qualifying, albeit a small one.

Due to the low track temperature, all of the teams waited until quite late in the session before putting the medium compound option tyres on their cars. When the option tyre runs finally started, Hulkenberg was imediately quick, impressing by taking the top spot in the timing sheets and then keeping it for some time. In fact, tit was only when the Red Bull pair of Vettel and Webber went out on options that Hulkenberg was deposed.

Right at the end of FP3, Lewis Hamitlon put in a lap that put him third in the session. His was possibly the last time to be recorded in FP3. The track was getting quicker and quicker throughout the session, as evidenced by some drivers doing qiute long runs on both compounds of tyre and improving their lap times long after the peak performance of the tyres should have been used.

Ahead of qualifying, it looks like Red Bull have an edge over Mercedes, with Lotus and Sauber fairly close behind the Silver Arrows. Exactly how quick Ferrari are this weekend is not clear yet. Alonso was only 11th fastest in FP3, with Massa back in 17th place, but they are surely a bit quicker than those times indicate.

Qualifying starts at 12 noon local time in Austin, Texas.

Full results from FP3:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:36.733 14
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:36.936 0.203 20
3 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.064 0.331 22
4 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.272 0.539 20
5 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.345 0.612 20
6 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.534 0.801 18
7 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.578 0.845 24
8 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.583 0.850 19
9 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:37.747 1.014 17
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.748 1.015 21
11 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.763 1.030 16
12 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.774 1.041 18
13 7 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:37.879 1.146 21
14 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.022 1.289 16
15 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:38.109 1.376 23
16 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:38.275 1.542 22
17 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:38.408 1.675 17
18 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.636 1.903 21
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:39.578 2.845 19
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.056 3.323 21
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:40.825 4.092 21
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.293 4.560 18

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