Russell fastest as final Vegas practice ends early after Albon hits wall

Formula 1

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George Russell set the fastest time in final practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix after a loose tyre brought an early end to running.

The Mercedes driver posted the best time of the final hour of running with a 1’34.093, four tenths of a second quicker than Oscar Piastri’s McLaren. The session ended five minutes early after a red flag caused by a tyre from Alexander Albon’s Williams falling off his left-rear wheel along the high speed Strip straight.

Following the heavy disruption to the opening practice sessions of the weekend, third practice began on time. The McLarens of Piastri and Lando Norris were the first out on the track, but George Russell’s Mercedes was the first to set a lap time in the session with a 1’43.603 after the McLarens immediately returned to the pit lane.

After setting the pace in the opening sessions of the weekend, Charles Leclerc returned to the top of the order on the medium tyres with a 1’36.508, with Carlos Sainz Jnr half a second behind, much as he had been for the second practice session.

Despite there being only an hour of running remaining before qualifying, Red Bull, AlphaTauri and Williams opted to remain in the garage for the first third of a session. Max Verstappen eventually ventured out onto the circuit for the first time after 20 minutes on soft compound tyres. His first push lap of the session was not as quick as the Ferraris, but after running a double cool-down his next full-speed attempt was easily quick enough to go fastest of all by just under half a second.

Sergio Perez improved to go second-fastest to his team mate, while Alexander Albon jumped up to third for Williams ahead of the Ferraris, who had set their best times on the mediums. Mercedes fitted soft tyres to both Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s cars, with Russell displacing Albon’s Williams to go third, while Hamilton was unable to beat the Ferraris on the mediums.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, the bulk of the field returned to the pits to prepare for qualifying simulation runs in the final minutes. However Mercedes stayed out, Russell improving on his third push lap on his softs to move to the top of the times by a few hundredths of a second.

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Verstappen set the fastest first sector time but abandoned his lap after a mistake into turn 12 left him having to turn around in the run off. Piastri went fastest of all with his push lap, before Russell went almost four tenths quicker to move back into the top spot.

With around five minutes remaining, Albon locked up under braking for turn five and understeered into the outside wall, causing damage to the left side of his Williams. As he recovered back to the pits, his left-rear tyre broke free of his wheel right along the Strip, rolling in front of Verstappen’s Red Bull approaching behind.

While the hazard conveniently came to a rest by the barriers, the session was eventually red-flagged with just over five minutes remaining. Race control confirmed that the session would not be resumed, signalling an end to practice.

Russell’s best time in the final ten minutes was enough to see him end the session quickest of all, with Piastri taking second for McLaren. Williams driver Logan Sargeant set the third-fastest time of the hour, with the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez behind him in fourth and fifth.

Albon was sixth despite his late error, with Fernando Alonso seventh for Aston Martin. Hamilton was eighth in the second Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas in ninth for Alfa Romeo. Kevin Magnussen completed the top ten, with both Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz well outside of the top ten in 16th and 17th, respectively.

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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix third practice result

163George RussellMercedesW141’34.09323
281Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’34.4910.39820
32Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’34.6450.55217
41Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’34.6530.56014
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’34.7060.61313
623Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’34.7260.63314
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’34.7880.69518
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’34.8530.76024
977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’34.9080.81518
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’35.0670.97418
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’35.0890.99617
1227Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’35.1121.01917
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’35.2531.16020
1431Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’35.2971.20415
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’35.8811.78815
1616Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’35.9081.81522
1755Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’35.9391.84621
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’36.0871.99415
1910Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’36.4852.39212
203Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’37.7783.68515

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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix combined practice times

P.#DriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
163George RussellMercedes1’45.4971’36.8901’34.09364
281Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesNo time1’36.9871’34.4910.39857
32Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesNo time1’38.1401’34.6450.55259
41Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’44.3971’36.1831’34.6530.56055
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’46.7931’36.0851’34.7060.61353
623Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesNo time1’36.6881’34.7260.63358
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesNo time1’35.7931’34.7880.69558
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’48.5131’36.6631’34.8530.76070
977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’47.1471’36.1291’34.9080.81558
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’44.2611’36.9171’35.0670.97459
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’48.9471’36.8641’35.0890.99653
1227Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’43.4461’36.4891’35.1121.01954
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesNo time1’36.4961’35.2531.16062
1416Charles LeclercFerrari1’40.9091’35.2651’35.9081.17265
1531Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’45.3651’37.2411’35.2971.20457
1655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’45.8241’35.7821’35.9391.68964
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’48.8221’37.6561’35.8811.78856
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’45.9081’37.4121’36.0871.99461
1910Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’48.2531’37.1341’36.4852.39250
203Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’48.6501’37.6801’37.7783.58759

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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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One comment on “Russell fastest as final Vegas practice ends early after Albon hits wall”

  1. Good lord this track is dull.

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