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United States GP 2014

NOVEMBER 1, 2014

Practice 3 Report - Making It Look Easy

Lewis Hamilton, United States GP 2014
© Terry Griffin, The Cahier Archive

Lewis Hamilton made it look easy as he topped Free Practice 3 in his Mercedes. His teammate Nico Rosberg, who had handling woes on his car, ended up second albeit 0.883 of a second slower.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Centigrade.)

The 18 car line-up was as follows: Red Bull Renault‘ Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo; Mercedes ‘ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg; Ferrari ‘ Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen; Lotus Renault ‘ Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado; McLaren Mercedes‘ Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen; Force India Mercedes ‘ Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez; Sauber Ferrari ‘ Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez; Toro Rosso Renault ‘ Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat; Williams Mercedes ‘ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas was the first driver on track for the 60 minute session. His teammate Massa was the first to break into the 1:39s as he posted a 1:39.820 lap 16 minutes into the session. Ricciardo was second with a 1:40.073 and Kvyat third with a 1:40.526.

Sutil found it slippery out there, going off at Turn 12, Turn 19 and Turn 19 again.

23 minutes into the session, Ricciardo put his name in front with a time of 1:39.693 while Bottas claimed second with a 1:39.798. Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Rosberg had yet to do a flying lap.

All the drivers were still on the medium compound Pirelli tires at this stage.

26 minutes into the session, Alonso clocked a 1:39.915 which put him up to fourth place.

Midway through FP3 the top six were: Ricciardo, Bottas, Massa, Alonso, Kvyat and Raikkonen. Grosjean, Magnussen, Button and Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.

With 28 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg set out only to pit again.

Hamilton would soon be up to fifth place with a time of 1:40.064, but Rosberg, who had brake problems, was in last place with a leisurely time of 1:47.636. The team said that the rear end of Rosberg's car was unsettled.

With 18 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton spun at Turn 12 and continued.

With 17 minutes remaining in the session, most of the drivers were in the pits preparing for their qualifying simulation runs on the soft tires.

With 15 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg was out on the medium tires and ran wide at Turn 12.

"The challenge in these cooler conditions lies in getting tires and brakes all in the working temperature range and working in harmony," was the word from the Mercedes garage.

With 14 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso headed out on the soft tires. He rammed in a 1:39.108 despite having some lurid moments on his lap.

Now Bottas was out on softs. He clipped six-tenths off Alonso's time with a 1:38.437. Raikkonen went from eighth to third with a lap of 1:39.143.

With 7 minutes remaining in the session, Massa was on a roll and took over first place with a 1:38.214. All but Vergne were now on track.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton roared by the line to clock a stunning 1:37.107.

The order was now: Hamilton, Massa, Bottas, Alonso, Hulkenberg and Sutil as Rosberg, who was 17th, started his fast lap. He leaped to second with a 1:37.991.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo slotted into sixth place.

The top 10 at the end of FP3 were: Hamilton, Massa, Bottas, Alonso, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Sutil, Raikkonen and Button.