Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

Perez tops final practice as Hamilton and Verstappen lose quicker times

2021 United States Grand Prix third practice

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Sergio Perez remained on top in the final practice session for the United States Grand Prix, lapping the Circuit of the Americas in 1’34.701.

However Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both set quicker lap times which were deleted due to track limits violations. Hamilton set a 1’34.458 and Verstappen a 1’34.383.

Verstappen was once again frustrated by traffic, coming up behind Antonio Giovinazzi on a slow lap and losing another potential lap time, after the one he had deleted for track limit violations.

As in Friday’s sessions, drivers favoured soft tyre sets, reserving medium and hard tyres for the race tomorrow. The only drivers to use the harder rubber were Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly, who both initially went out on medium compound tyres. Vettel, who will start from the back of the grid due to a power unit change penalty, made an additional two runs on the yellow-walled tyres, saving his soft run for the end of the session.

Red Bull led the first half-hour of the session, Verstappen having the edge on Perez. Mercedes made a low-key start to proceedings, Valtteri Bottas staying in the garage for much of the first 40 minutes.

Both Bottas and George Russell had spins on-track, Bottas coming off the kerb at the exit of turn six and flatspotting his tyres. Russell had a more dramatic spin, although managed not to make contact with barriers or other cars on his way across the track at turn five.

Ferrari looked quick during the early part of the session but slipped down the order towards the end. Carlos Sainz Jnr set his best time in the final quarter of an hour of the session, when drivers committed to their last performance runs. He split the Red Bulls times, initially going fastest of all until Perez was able to reclaim the spot.

Having lagged behind his team mate early as McLaren had looked somewhat adrift of Ferrari, Lando Norris had a very strong final run. Norris was the only one of the two McLaren drivers to beat the Mercedes pair, Ricciardo ending up seventh-fastest.

Pierre Gasly had another frustrating session, off the pace until the final runs but the AlphaTauri driver was still able to beat one Ferrari, Charles Leclerc finishing the session ninth. Esteban Ocon completed the top 10, team mate Fernando Alonso well off the pace in seventeenth.

Alonso faces a grid penalty after becoming the latest driver to exceed the maximum allocation of power unit parts. Alpine has renewed every element of his Renault power unit, including the exhaust. He joins Bottas, Vettel and Russell in taking power unit-related grid penalties.

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2021 United States Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
111Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’34.70113
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’34.8050.10416
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’34.9120.21113
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.9450.24413
577Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.9880.28715
644Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.2190.51816
73Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’35.3450.64411
810Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’35.3980.69717
916Charles LeclercFerrari1’35.6880.98717
1031Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’35.7111.01010
115Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’35.8511.15018
1263George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’36.0231.3229
137Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.0621.36120
146Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’36.1181.4178
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.2521.55116
1618Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’36.3921.69113
1714Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’36.4901.78912
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’36.5721.87116
1947Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’36.6711.97015
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari2’03.45628.75515

Third practice visual gaps

Sergio Perez – 1’34.701

+0.104 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.805

+0.211 Max Verstappen – 1’34.912

+0.244 Lando Norris – 1’34.945

+0.287 Valtteri Bottas – 1’34.988

+0.518 Lewis Hamilton – 1’35.219

+0.644 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’35.345

+0.697 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.398

+0.987 Charles Leclerc – 1’35.688

+1.010 Esteban Ocon – 1’35.711

+1.150 Sebastian Vettel – 1’35.851

+1.322 George Russell – 1’36.023

+1.361 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’36.062

+1.417 Nicholas Latifi – 1’36.118

+1.551 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’36.252

+1.691 Lance Stroll – 1’36.392

+1.789 Fernando Alonso – 1’36.490

+1.871 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’36.572

+1.970 Mick Schumacher – 1’36.671

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’36.7981’34.9461’34.701-0.24557
2Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’36.5081’35.9191’34.805-1.11460
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.8741’35.3601’34.988+0.11456
4Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’35.8061’35.8241’34.912-0.89452
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.9191’35.3101’35.219+0.356
6Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’36.8551’35.2031’34.945-0.25844
7Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’37.4581’35.4571’35.345-0.11250
8Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’36.6111’36.2421’35.398-0.84460
9Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’36.9721’35.5611’36.392+0.83158
10Charles LeclercFerrari1’36.3341’35.5721’35.688+0.11658
11Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’36.9701’36.1581’35.711-0.44755
12Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’36.9821’36.7181’35.851-0.86768
13George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’36.9661’37.4901’36.023-0.94349
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.8761’36.5581’36.062-0.49663
15Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’37.4631’37.2541’36.118-1.13653
16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.8741’36.1381’36.252+0.11460
17Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’37.0681’36.3761’36.490+0.11442
18Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’37.9541’36.9831’36.572-0.41162
19Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’38.8661’37.0411’36.671-0.3756
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’42.2391’38.0262’03.456+25.4357

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2021 United States Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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2 comments on “Perez tops final practice as Hamilton and Verstappen lose quicker times”

  1. First time entering predictions… Anyone willing to put Perez on pole? Lol

    1. Since both Ham and Ver set a (deleted) quicker time, no.

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