Formula 1

Verstappen grabs P1 as Ferrari struggle with pace – 2022 COTA FP3 highlights

Last time out, it was Ferrari who looked to be the favourites for pole in Sunday’s Race, but as of FP3, Things might have taken a turn. Redbull and Max have shown that they are still in the game and at the top by 0.320 sec, as Max clocked in a 1:35:825, the fastest of the weekend. This was right after Charles Leclerc had put in a 1:36:145 but got left behind by Max’s 3 purple sectors just seconds later in the closing stages of FP3. Leclerc has also been handed a 10-place grid penalty, for taking a new turbocharger and an engine before qualifying.

Sainz was off the Pace of the weekend by 0.446 sec, getting him P3. This puts his 2-session-strong show of pace and consequently, the pole, in doubt. Sergio Perez took home a P4, as he was off the fastest laptime by just over half a second. Checo will also be dropping down the grid by 5 places for taking a new engine.

Lewis Hamilton put on a stellar perfomance after having upgrades fitted to his W13 and certainly, they did not disappoint, putting him in P5, 0.576 sec adrift of the top time. A speedy Alonso was spotted at COTA as he approached Checo on the S’s section quite fast. P6 for a particularly drifty Russel, as he slid beautifully while exitting T-1.

Aston Martin do it again. Both Seb and Lance secure P8 and P9 nearly 1.39 sec behind Max’s laptime, but a speeding fine Stroll for crossing the limit in the pitlane. Aston Martin can do good in qualifying if they don’t mess up their tyre pressures or fuel load, etc. like they’ve done in the past many times. Pierre Gasly rounded up the top 10 in his AlphaTauri while his teammate Yuki Tsunoda picked up a Not so impressive P16. Valtteri and Lando got P11 and P12 respectively as both struggled to find speed in their packages, with Ocon and Magnussen following them in laptimes.

Haas and McLaren both saw their 2nd drivers’ cars face technical issues. Daniel reported a stiff brake pedal but was taken care of quick while Haas took their time repairing it after Mick limped back to the Pits around a lap later to find an issue with his ERS water pump. P15 for Danny Ric after both McLarens struggle to find the required Pace for the upcoming Quali, a worry for the papaya team.

Albon and Latifi came in at P17 and P18 respectively, this U.S. GP being Latifi’s last, in the special star spangled Williams Austin GP edition. The FP3 standings close with Mick and Zhou in P19 and P20 respectively.

Things are looking interesting for Qualifying, Especially because the softs are lasting only 1 lap, what strategies and windows will the Teams use?, It will be interesting to see whether Sainz makes a comeback on Max, also how do Aston Martin perform, given that Seb and Lance have been bagging decent positions in the previous sessions. Lots of other things are still in the dark, but will be clear once the Quali goes down.

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