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:
|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|
|10||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:37.748||1.015||21|
|16||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.275||1.542||22|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:40.056||3.323||21|