F1 – Pérez heads final practice for US Grand Prix ahead of Sainz, Verstappen | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

F1 – Pérez heads final practice for US Grand Prix ahead of Sainz, Verstappen

  • gb
23.10.21

Sergio Pérez topped the timesheet in final practice for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix as title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had their fastest laps deleted at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. 

There was little action in the opening 10 minutes of the session, with only Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso heading out on track. It was Alonso who set leisurely early pace with a lap of 1:40.977 but when Hamilton emerged as the quarter hour mark arrived that marker was swiftly lowered by five seconds with the Mercedes drivers setting a time of 1:35.814 on soft tyres. 

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez soon eclipsed that though and with 20 minutes gone the Mexican took P1 with a lap of 1:35.633. The Mexican’s time at the top wasn’t long, however, as within moments Valtteri Bottas edged past the Red Bull driver with a lap of 1:35.556. 

However, the Finn’s time was quickly deleted for a track limits infringement at Turn 19 and it was left to Hamilton to reclaim P1 for Mercedes with a lap of 1:35.571. 

Verstappen, though, was beginning his first flyer of the day and when the championship leader crossed the line he took top spot with over three tenths of a second in hand over Hamilton thanks to a lap of 1:35.207. Pérez then shuffled Hamilton to third with a time of 1:35.208 just 0.001 off team-mate Verstappen, but as the halfway mark passed the Dutch driver lowered the P1 benchmark again, setting a new target of 1:34.912. 

Bottas then emerged on a new set of softs and he split the Red Bulls with a lap of 1:34.988 before Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz’s qualifying sim vaulted him to the top of the order with a lap of 1:34.805. 

Pérez then bolted on new softs and he edged the Ferrari driver out of P1 with a lap of 1:34.701. Verstappen was the next of the frontrunners across the line and he took top spot, a little over three tenths of a second clear of his team-mate. However, the Dutch driver had edged over the white lines at Turn 19 and his time was deleted for going beyond the track limits.

Hamilton then made his claim for P1 but his lap of 1:34.458 was also deleted, this time for exceeding the track limits in Turn 9. He wouldn’t make another attempt and ended the session in sixth place. 

Pérez, then topped his second session in a row, with Sainz second and Verstappen third. McLaren's Lando Norris ended the hour in fourth place with Bottas fifth ahead of team-mate Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo was seventh in the second McLaren ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly while Charles Leclerc was ninth for Ferrari ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon.

2021 FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:34.701 13 209.573
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:34.805 0.104 16 209.343
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:34.912 0.211 13 209.107
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:34.945 0.244 13 209.034
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.988 0.287 15 208.940
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35.219 0.518 16 208.433
7 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:35.345 0.644 11 208.157
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:35.398 0.697 17 208.042
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:35.688 0.987 17 207.411
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:35.711 1.010 10 207.361
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:35.851 1.150 18 207.058
12 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:36.023 1.322 9 206.687
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:36.062 1.361 20 206.604
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:36.118 1.417 8 206.483
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:36.252 1.551 16 206.196
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:36.392 1.691 13 205.896
17 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:36.490 1.789 12 205.687
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:36.572 1.871 16 205.512
19 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:36.671 1.970 15 205.302
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 2: 03.456 28.755 15 160.760