Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

Hamilton tops times as practice goes ahead in dire weather

2015 United States Grand Prix third practice

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Lewis Hamilton headed a final practice session which went ahead in dire conditions at the Circuit of the Americas.

Despite extremely heavy rain in the area, and the circuit operators choosing to keep the gates closed to minimise the risk to spectators, the session began on schedule and all 20 drivers set times.

Hamilton took advantage of a brief lull in the downpour to become the only driver to lap the circuit in less than two minutes. Team mate Nico Rosberg was only ninth fastest after spinning into a barrier early in the session.

Sebastian Vettel, who led for much of the proceedings, ended up in second place after spinning twice when the conditions deteriorated. Kimi Raikkonen ran second in the other Ferrari early in proceedings, but was demoted by Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Daniel Ricciardo.

Sainz was only having his second experience of the circuit, but team mate Max Verstappen ended up at the bottom of the times. Daniel Ricciardo ended up eighth quickest having been the first driver out when the session began, but missing out on the best of the conditions.

With rain continuing to fall at the circuit it remains to be seen whether qualifying will be started on schedule.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’59.517 9
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2’00.380 0.863 9
3 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2’00.496 0.979 12
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2’00.523 1.006 14
5 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 2’00.687 1.170 11
6 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 2’00.694 1.177 12
7 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2’00.785 1.268 9
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2’01.008 1.491 12
9 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2’01.474 1.957 7
10 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2’02.199 2.682 13
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2’02.660 3.143 12
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 2’02.825 3.308 10
13 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 2’02.921 3.404 11
14 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 2’03.375 3.858 9
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 2’04.399 4.882 13
16 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 2’05.283 5.766 7
17 28 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari 2’05.378 5.861 10
18 53 Alexander Rossi Manor-Ferrari 2’05.607 6.090 10
19 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 2’06.792 7.275 10
20 33 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 2’09.994 10.477 7

Third practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’59.517

+0.863 Sebastian Vettel – 2’00.380

+0.979 Nico Hulkenberg – 2’00.496

+1.006 Valtteri Bottas – 2’00.523

+1.170 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 2’00.687

+1.177 Daniil Kvyat – 2’00.694

+1.268 Kimi Raikkonen – 2’00.785

+1.491 Daniel Ricciardo – 2’01.008

+1.957 Nico Rosberg – 2’01.474

+2.682 Felipe Massa – 2’02.199

+3.143 Sergio Perez – 2’02.660

+3.308 Romain Grosjean – 2’02.825

+3.404 Pastor Maldonado – 2’02.921

+3.858 Fernando Alonso – 2’03.375

+4.882 Marcus Ericsson – 2’04.399

+5.766 Jenson Button – 2’05.283

+5.861 Will Stevens – 2’05.378

+6.090 Alexander Rossi – 2’05.607

+7.275 Felipe Nasr – 2’06.792

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’53.989 2’01.474 +7.485 14
2 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1’55.224 2’00.694 +5.47 18
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’55.592 2’01.008 +5.416 22
4 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’55.667 2’00.687 +5.02 19
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’55.693 1’59.517 +3.824 13
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’55.710 2’00.380 +4.67 19
7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1’55.969 2’09.994 +14.025 14
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’56.326 2’00.785 +4.459 19
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’56.839 2’03.375 +6.536 27
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’56.866 2’00.523 +3.657 29
11 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’57.081 2’02.199 +5.118 26
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’57.139 2’02.660 +5.521 16
13 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’57.495 2’05.283 +7.788 27
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’57.518 2’00.496 +2.978 16
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1’58.319 2’02.825 +4.506 20
16 Raffaele Marciello Sauber-Ferrari 1’59.431 19
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’59.743 2’04.399 +4.656 31
18 Alexander Rossi Manor-Ferrari 2’01.154 2’05.607 +4.453 21
19 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari 2’01.907 2’05.378 +3.471 23
20 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 2’02.921 12
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 2’06.792 10

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Hamilton tops times as practice goes ahead in dire weather”

  1. I’m at the track and it is cold and wet! This isn’t Texas weather!!!

    1. Good luck with the weather and getting to see some more track action @daved!

    2. Karthik Mohan
      24th October 2015, 17:21

      Stay safe!

    3. Thanks guys! It’s still a blast to be here. @bascb and Karthik

      By the way, the McHonda is noticeably louder than the other cars. We’re in the main grandstands right by the Start Line and the echoes here make all of them sound louder which truly shows how loud the Honda engine is….relatively speaking. I’m thinking it’s because their turbo is really not working well and explains their performance. LOL

      1. @daved, enjoy! Could be the new Honda engine+exhausts has something to do with the loud sound too.

      2. MGU-H not working well would explain it.

  2. “. . . and the circuit operators choosing to keep the gates closed to minimise the risk to spectators . . .” Really? That must be a first.

    1. They were letting us in, but it was really strange. We had to stand in line to get some of the 100 wrist bands each team is allocated to handout for autograph sessions. And they made us stand in a line in the rain for nearly 3 hours before deciding to go ahead and start handing them out.

      I love the track, but COTA & the FIA have a lot of work to do on how they handle the action. COTA did much better during the WEC Lone Star Le Mans a few weeks ago so I’m more inclined to blame the FIA side of the house. But I will say that trying to get tickets and parking through COTA is a bit of a crap shoot and you never know what you’ll get there either. “Tickets? I’m sure those must have been mailed out by now”. “That parking pass was printed out at home…we don’t take those.” Uhhhh, yes, you do!!! SMH

      1. Sounds more than a bit amateur, doesn’t it? While you were waiting in line, do you think they were deciding whether to close the track completely to spectators?

  3. Quite amused at how many people have gone for HAM 1:59.517 in the predictions competition (including myself).

    1. You can add me to that too @johnnik!

      1. Thought I’d been smart on that one @bascb @johnnik but I must’nt be the only one! Where have you checked to see that?

        1. @fixy right next to the button where you “add prediction” there is a “show predictions” button.

          @bascb we’re one step closer to being correct.

  4. Pirelli finally got their wet weather tyre test. Let’s hope they can cook up decent full wet tyres for next year.

    A podium for Hülkenberg tomorrow?

    1. That would be great !

    2. Looking good for Force India. If Hülkenberg manages to qualify in the first three rows, then it’s likely that Checo will get a spot on the podium ;)

      1. Yeh! I too think checo will again bring the result

  5. @keithcollantine Max Verstappen seems to be missing from the visual gaps? I noticed since the text said he was last, and the table shows that as well.

  6. Great session, always nice to see the drivers work for their money.

    Also glad that was the last session this weekend with Paul di Resta commentating at Sky. The man is so negative, complaining all the time, I hope Davidson is back for the remaining weekends.

    1. My thoughts exactly

  7. I have to say that was one of the best FP3s I’ve seen. You could see drivers actually having to work hard to get; a) around the lap and b) get a good lap time in. Well done everybody. Shame there were no spectators to see it though, because I think they would of been impressed.

    1. It’s interesting, Damon Hill on Sky mentioned exactly the same thing basically – you can see how good the drivers really are to be able to control the car in these condition (he even praised Maldonado a couple of times – which leads me to believe Maldonado tends to overdrive the car in a race to make up time, then loses it). Ironically, Hill was saying, it’s less obvious how good the drivers are in the dry.

  8. Kudos to COTA for their drainage. I hope that gives Charlie the confidence to run qualy. And that COTA let the fans in, for goodness sake.

  9. I am surprised that they went ahead with the practice given the wet conditions.

    I am not getting a good feeling about this. These were the situations which lead to the Suzuka 2014 accident which proved to be too costly for F1. While I love watching wet races, I am not a big fan of wet races where there is a large risk hovering around the drivers and their safety. The show must go on but not at all costs !!!!!!!!

    1. @tmax

      These were the situations which lead to the Suzuka 2014

      Not really.

    2. If a tractor is at a high speed corner recovering a car on the track you are right. All motorsport is dangerous as is life. Look at Massa for example, qually completely dry and he is hit by a spring

      1. @LH44 It is not about the tractor. The low light conditions coupled with Rain along with a wet track with a lot of aquaplaning making the cars displace gallons of water towards the car behind which reduces the visibility to practically zero is what causes these accidents. Accidents that happened in Indy car or Massa’s accident can be considered “Force Majure” but when we know there is inherent risk starting with the low light conditions it is not a wise thing.

        The tractor would not have avoided a high speed crash at Suzuka. Yes, if the tractor was not present the result of the crash could have been a lot better. The missing tractor in the scene does not take away the inherent danger.

        Happy to see the Qualifying is postponed to tomorrow morning. I live a few 100 miles away from COTA but conditions are similar. My headlights automatically came on when I started my car some time ago. I would be super surprised if they held the qualifying in these conditions.

  10. Ok maybe not representitive because alot have did good wet races and although Ham fan i even give Vet edge over Ham in wet. But what a shock seeing imo the 2 best the top 2. May not be whole story but i think in these condidtions for say qually Ham and Vet would really destroy there teammates even more. Ham in Suzuka(rip Jules) was great how he passed Nico

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