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Formula 1

What happened in a strange final Las Vegas GP F1 practice

3 min read

A late red flag for an Alex Albon crash meant a very unusual order in final practice for Formula 1's Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Key moments

  • Russell fastest from Piastri
  • Williams fast but Albon causes red flag
  • Ferrari doesn't get a run on softs
  • Verstappen can't show his hand either

George Russell led the session for Mercedes, ahead of Oscar Piastri's McLaren and an extremely surprising appearance in third place by Williams's American rookie Logan Sargeant in third.

But that picture is a skewed one.

Most drivers were finding that their best pace came on a second, third or even fourth flying lap on a set of softs, with cool-down laps in between.

That meant many were yet to properly show their hand on their final runs when Albon brushed the wall and separated his left-rear tyre from his Williams with five minutes to go.

The stray tyre and parked Williams prompted a red flag that ended the session.

Russell - who also had a quick spin - had been a frontrunner as soon as Mercedes moved onto soft tyres so his first place was not completely unrepresentative.

But it's unclear what Max Verstappen and the Thursday pacesetting Ferraris were going to be capable of.

Verstappen spent spells on top mid-session, by some commanding margins, but went down an escape road on the first flying lap of his last run and then lost the rest to the red flag. He was fourth on the timesheets ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

The Ferraris repeatedly swapped first place between them during early medium-tyre running but only just switched to softs for a final outing when the session was stopped, so ended up 16th and 17th.

Lewis Hamilton was 0.760s off Russell's pace in eighth, behind Fernando Alonso's Aston Martin.

Williams showed its expected strong pace on the circuit's long straights and was also in the lead mix throughout, meaning Sargeant's third place hints at a realistic Q3 pace even given the late disruption. Albon had been faster than his team-mate for most of the hour up to his shunt and was still classified sixth.

Practice 3 Results

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1George RussellMercedes1m34.093s
2Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m34.491s+0.398s
3Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m34.645s+0.552s
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1m34.653s+0.560s
5Sergio PérezRed Bull1m34.706s+0.613s
6Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m34.726s+0.633s
7Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m34.788s+0.695s
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m34.853s+0.760s
9Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m34.908s+0.815s
10Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m35.067s+0.974s
11Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m35.089s+0.996s
12Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m35.112s+1.019s
13Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m35.253s+1.160s
14Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m35.297s+1.204s
15Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m35.881s+1.788s
16Charles LeclercFerrari1m35.908s+1.815s
17Carlos SainzFerrari1m35.939s+1.846s
18Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m36.087s+1.994s
19Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m36.485s+2.392s
20Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m37.778s+3.685s
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