Las Vegas GP: Russell tops curtailed Practice 3 after Albon crash

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George Russell was fastest in a curtailed Practice 3 due to a crash for Alex Albon at the Las Vegas Grand Prix. 

The Mercedes driver posted his best time of 1m34.093s at just the right moment to lead Oscar Piastri in a largely unrepresentative final order.

That was proven by Logan Sargeant claiming third in the low-drag Williams, while the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari had their final runs disrupted by a late red flag.

FP3 Review

After soft tyre running dominated Thursday, most teams focused on the medium compound early on in FP3.

Ferrari continued to set the pace as Carlos Sainz sat half a second clear of teammate Charles Leclerc.

Alpine were among those to stay on soft tyres allowing Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly to make the top five with Fernando Alonso in fourth.

Red Bull opted to sit out the opening 20 minutes before Verstappen and Perez went P1 and P2 after their second flying lap on soft tyres.

Max led his teammate by almost half a second with the first sub-1m35s lap thanks to a little tow from Checo down the Strip.

Albon moved upto third in the slippery Williams as the early medium tyre runners began their qualifying runs.

Among them was Mercedes, who focused on long-run pace initially before Russell went P3 after two warm-up laps versus Lewis Hamilton in P7 after a single warm-up lap.

Russell went even faster on his second flying lap to go fastest by just 0.068s until Piastri put McLaren on top.

Verstappen was on course to reclaim P1 but had to go down the escape road at Turn 12 as traffic increased.

A third timed lap put Russell back on top as Logan Sargeant backed up Williams' strong pace in third.

Teammate Albon though would have several untidy laps before becoming the first man to hit the wall as he slid into the barriers at Turn 5.

His punctured left-rear tyre would later come off around Turn 6 before he came to a halt approaching Turn 14, triggering a red flag and an early end to Practice 3.

That was bad news for Ferrari, who failed to get a representative flying lap on soft tyres and left Leclerc 16th and Sainz 17th. 

Russell finished in P1 by almost four-tenths over Piastri and Sargeant an unexpected third. Verstappen and Perez sat fourth and fifth with Albon sixth.

Alonso took P7 ahead of Hamilton as Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.

Lando Norris was 11th, followed by Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon in 14th.

Zhou Guanyu claimed 15th ahead of the two Ferraris. AlphaTauri's difficult weekend continued with Yuki Tsunoda 18th and Daniel Ricciardo 20th, sandwiching Pierre Gasly in 19th.