Everything accelerated in the last minutes, when the pilots carried out their qualifying simulation, during the third free practice of the Grand Prix of the United States, Saturday in Austin. And in the end, it was the now double world champion who had the last word. Max Verstappen set the best time of the session in 1’33″825, placing his Red Bull more than three tenths ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari (+0″320) and almost half a second ahead of Carlos Sainz (+0.446), who had the best time in the first free practice.
Sergio Perez (Red Bull) took fourth place (+0”572) but could hear from the stewards after hampering Fernando Alonso in the first sector during a flying lap from the Spaniard. The latter still obtained an interesting sixth place, slipping his Alpine between the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton (+0”576) and George Russell (+1”239). But it should be noted that, in conditions made difficult by the wind, many attempts were marked by trajectories brushing against or exceeding the limits of the track, which will probably be worth some of the times erased during qualifying.
On the French side, Pierre Gasly took tenth place (+1”465) behind the two Aston Martins, who confirmed their good pace glimpsed on Friday (Vettel 8th and Stroll 9th). Esteban Ocon took 13th place (+1”643) just behind the McLaren of Lando Norris (+1”624).
Note, at the bottom of the standings, the problems encountered by Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren, 15th), briefly worried about his brake pedal, and Mick Schumacher (Haas, 19th), delayed by a faulty water pump. Finally, victim of a technical problem, Zhou Guyanu was only able to complete three short laps with his Alfa Romeo and logically brings up the rear of this session. A scenario which inevitably complicates things for the Chinese before the qualification, disputed at the end of the afternoon in Texas (from midnight French time).