US GP, Practice Three: Lewis Hamilton narrowly ahead of Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton sets new track record but Vettel less than tenth behind; Bottas, Raikkonen and Verstappen complete top five; Ricciardo only ninth; Qualy underway at 10pm
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 21/10/17 10:17pm
Lewis Hamilton posted a new track record as he continued to set the pace at the United States GP by finishing ahead of championship rival Sebastian Vettel in Practice Three.
Hamilton, who can secure his fourth world championship on Sunday if he outscores Vettel by 16 points, lowered the Circuit of the Americas record he had posted on Friday with a 1:34.478.
But less than a tenth of a second split Hamilton and Vettel, the German enjoying a much better morning after Ferrari changed his chassis following a difficult Friday.
The small gap between the two title protagonists set things up perfectly for Qualifying, which gets underway at 10pm BST. Sky F1's build-up starts at 9pm.
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"I think it's going to be tight," said Sky F1's Damon Hill. "Lewis is on such great form but he has only had one pole position here and Vettel is going to be extremely motivated. So watch out."
There was, though, an awkward moment for Vettel when he accidentally stopped in the pit box of his former Red Bull team.
Valtteri Bottas was third, two tenths down on Hamilton's best time, and narrowly ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Max Verstappen, who is facing a 15-place grid penalty for engine component changes, was fifth but six tenths off the pace.
Verstappen's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo could only manage the ninth fastest time, although his qualifying simulation right at the end of the session was compromised by traffic.
It was also a disappointing session for Romain Grosjean at Haas' home race as the Frenchman beached his car in the gravel after half an hour having caught too much kerb at Turn Seven.
Daniil Kvyat's hopes of a clean run on his return to Toro Rosso were also ended by a problem at the front of his car. The Russian was limited to just six laps and posted the slowest time.
Felipe Massa gave Williams the 'best of the rest' tag with sixth, narrowly ahead of Nico Hulkenberg - who also faces a grid penalty - and Carlos Sainz.
The Spaniard, making his Renault debut, was just four hundredths of a second slower than his new team-mate. Sergio Perez completed the top 10 for Force India.
United States GP Practice Three timesheet
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.625|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+1.245|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||+1.324|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||+1.487|
|Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+2.340|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+4.022|
Will Lewis Hamilton clinch his fourth world championship in Austin? Watch the US GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1 - the race begins at 8pm on Sunday. Want to watch but not got Sky F1? Buy a NOW TV pass from £6.99!