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Vettel leads Raikkonen in close-fought final practice – FP3 Report

United States Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel topped the only dry practice session in Austin ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.

In stark contrast with a wet free practice two session which had minimal track action, FP3 was the first dry session of the weekend, and drivers were given their first chance to complete dry-weather race simulations.

With the teams trying to condense all free practice running into the one-hour session, many elected to complete the longer runs straight away, whilst others completed low fuel runs, leading to a mixed up order early on.

The two Ferrari’s went for low fuel runs early and initially topped the session by two seconds, and the likes of Esteban Ocon, Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen ran in the top five, whilst Mercedes concentrated on long runs, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas down in thirteenth and fifteenth.

However, the remaining qualifying simulations came over the course of the session, and Sebastian Vettel set the pace with a 1:33.797, leading both team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Hamilton by less than one tenth of a second.

The second Mercedes of Bottas was fourth and several tenths of a second down, although the Finn failed to set a representative flying lap in the final moments of FP3.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth, although they appear to be some way off the front-running pace in Austin.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc finished at the head of the midfield, and he represented one of four teams in positions seventh to tenth.

Force India’s Sergio Perez, Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

To view the full results of the session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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