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United States GP 2015

OCTOBER 24, 2015

Practice 3 Report - Splashing

Lewis Hamilton, United States GP 2015
© Active Pictures


Lewis Hamilton splashed his way to the top of the time sheets in his Mercedes in a soggy Free Practice 3 on Saturday. Sebastian Vettel ended up second in his Ferrari while Valtteri Bottas took third in his Williams.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Renault - Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Toro Rosso Renault - Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Lotus Mercedes - Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Marussia Ferrari - Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi. Sauber - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

FP2 on Friday afternoon had been washed out by rain and clouds.

"It's a shame for the spectators out there," Rosberg said. They pay a lot of money to be here and didn't see a single car driving in the afternoon. So let's see what tomorrow brings."

More heavy rain fell overnight, but by the time FP3 on was due to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday the rain had eased off. There were no fans, however, as the circuit bosses declared that the gates would not be opened until noon. And the stewards said the drivers must use Pirelli's extreme wet tires.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade). There was a 100 percent chance of rain.

First out was Ricciardo followed by Ericsson, Maldonado and Grosjean.

5 minutes into the session, Ricciardo clocked a 2:12.758, but Kvyat soon beat that with a 2:04.234.

7 minutes into the session, Rosberg knocked the front wing off the Mercedes when he spun at Turn 7. Hamilton was now in front with a 2:02.561, but Vettel topped that with a 2:01.441.

10 minutes into the session, Vettel set a 2:00.380. A couple laps later he radioed that the rain was getting heavier. Meanwhile, Verstappen went off at Turns 17 and 12.

15 minutes into the session the order was: Vettel, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Hamilton and Alonso.

19 minutes into the session, Maldonado spun at Turn 17.

22 minutes into the session, Rosberg took over fifth place. Then Hulkenberg grabbed second. Then Bottas took the third spot.

28 minutes into the session, 15 of the 20 drivers were in action.

31 minutes into the session, Hamilton topped the times with a 1:59.517. The top six were now Hamilton, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Sainz and Kvyat. Vettel then spun and continued at Turn 19 and then Turn 9.

With 22 minutes remaining in the session, the conditions were now quite bad, and only Hulkenberg and Rosberg were out on the track.

With 18 minutes remaining in the session, the top 10 were: Hamilton, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Sainz, Kvyat, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Rosberg and Massa.

Hulkenberg now headed for the pits and so there were no drivers on the circuit until Kvyat and several others went out to try some practice starts.

As the rain increased the session wound down with the top 10 unchanged.