F1 Las Vegas GP: Russell tops red-flagged final practice as Albon ...

22 days ago

Following a disrupted first day of running on Thursday night and Friday morning, most of which was held behind closed doors, fans were welcomed back into the grandstands to witness final practice on the streets of Las Vegas.

F1 Las Vegas - Figure 1
Photo autosport.com

With the track re-opened for road traffic during the day, action got underway at 8:30pm local time on a circuit with different grip levels compared to how the drivers left it at 4am earlier in FP2 on the same the day.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz continued where they left off after taking a 1-2 in FP2, leading early doors in the same positions.

The first 20 minutes were marked by an odd duel between Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen, the Monegasque driver holding up the Haas driver before the latter seemed to return the favour.

At the halfway mark Red Bull got involved at the front, with Sergio Perez leading the way on softs by virtue of a 1m35.146s lap, before world champion Max Verstappen went half a second quicker with a 1m34.653s effort.

On softs Williams' Albon then split the Red Bulls and the Ferraris with third, on a circuit that his team is tipped to perform well at.

It took until the final quarter for the top times to tumble again, Russell beating Verstappen's benchmark by 0.068s as the track continued to grip up and more drivers shifted to qualifying simulations.

Photo by: Philip Hurst / Motorsport Images

General view of the start finish line from above at the Las Vegas GP

F1 Las Vegas - Figure 2
Photo autosport.com

Verstappen was poised to retaliate with a purple first sector, but followed AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo into the Turn 12 run-off area.

That opened the door for Russell and McLaren's Oscar Piastri to trade the lead, with Russell ahead until a red flag five minutes before the end, which curtailed FP3.

The stoppage was caused by Albon, who tapped the wall hard coming out of Turn 5 and lost the left-rear wheel on his Williams.

With Albon unable to finish his final flyer, team-mate Logan Sargeant took up the mantle to claim third after what had been a promising display for the Grove team.

Verstappen was demoted to fourth after his off-track moment, which was still enough to stay in front of Perez and Albon.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso was seventh ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas and Magnussen rounding out the top 10.

Lando Norris was another driver that saw his final push lap compromised after catching a huge slide out of Turn 12. He narrowly avoiding the wall but the lost lap time meant he had to settle for 11th.

Nico Hulkenberg was 12th ahead of Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu.

Setting their best laps in the opening stages when the track was at its slowest, Ferrari duo Leclerc and Sainz then dropped down the order to finish 16th and 17th respectively.

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

In a low-key session for AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda was 18th and Ricciardo last, the pair split by Pierre Gasly in the Alpine.

Before the session the FIA decided to expand the circuit's second DRS zone on the Strip by 50 metres to boost overtaking.

The 6.2km layout, which features DRS zones on its two large straights, was expected to provide plenty of action. But after initial running on Thursday it was decided to expand the zone on the iconic Las Vegas Boulevard as the low-downforce setups the teams are using have resulted in a reduced the slipstream effect.

The activation point is now located 870 metres before the tight Turn 14 instead of 820 metres.

Qualifying for the race will commence at midnight local time.

F1 Las Vegas GP - FP3 results

Read more
Similar news
This week's most popular news