Red Bull continued their unchallenged run of domination at the head of the F1 timesheets this morning by setting the fastest times in Free Practice Three ahead of qualifying. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber edged Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to consolidate their advantage.
The hour-long session went smoothly with none of Friday’s shenanigans repeated and followed the standard Saturday procedure of tyre evaluation ahead of qualifying. The teams and drivers spent the lion’s share of the hour on the hard compound Pirelli’s before switching to the option, or medium, tyres.
Once again Red Bull had the measure of their rivals despite Mercedes setting high speeds in the speedtrap, while Lotus were challenged by Jenson Button and McLaren who looked to be on better form than their recent 2013 debacles. However, the Briton has been hit with a controversial three-place grid penalty for passing Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat in yesterday’s chaotic FP1 session under red flags.
Sauber also showed well and look set to reprise their role as a foil for faster cars in straightline trim after spending much of the morning well within the top ten, while Ferrari were struggling in the midfield. Both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa elected to abandon their final runs and ended the session outside the top ten.
CLASSIFICATION – FP3 – US GRAND PRIX
|16||Di Resta||Force India||1:38:275|
|20||Van Der Garde||Caterham||1:40:056|