2012 US Grand Prix: Third practice
VETTEL ON PACE: Sebastian Vettel powers his RB8 through the 2012 Circuit of the Americas.
AUSTIN, Texas, Nov 17 - Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel continued to set a blistering pace at the 2012 US Grand Prix, clocking the fastest time in final practice on November 17.
Vettel, fastest in Friday's two practice sessions, has quickly mastered F1's newest venue, the Circuit of the Americas, turning in a best time of 1min36 on a chilly but sun-bathed morning in south Texas.
THIRD TITLE IN SIGHT
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, winner of the last US Grand Prix in Indianapolis five years ago, was second-fastest crossing 0.258 seconds behind Vettel with Pastor Maldonado third in his Williams 0.511 off Vettel's torrid pace.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only driver left with a chance of preventing Vettel from clinching a third straight drivers' title, had an rough morning but produced a flying late lap to jump up the timing table into fourth 0.690 behind his Red Bull rival.
With the session drawing to a close, Alonso had looked ready to improve on his position until he slid wide in the final turn entering the home stretch spoiling the attempt.
Vettel, who started the last race in Abu Dhabi from pit lane as punishment for a fuel irregularity, will be bidding for his sixth pole of the season later on November 17 as he tries to fend off a challenge from Alonso and collect a third straight drivers crown.
2012 United States Grand Prix:
Final practice times
1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min36.490
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min36.748
3. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min37.001
4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min37.180
5. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min37.247
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min37.262
7. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min37.298
8. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1min37.415
9. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - 1min37.495
10. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min37.538
11. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min37.569
12. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min37.760
13. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min37.765
14. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min37.953
15. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min38.547
16. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min38.653
17. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min38.753
18. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min39.689
19. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min40.407
20. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min40.753
21. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min41.011
22. Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min41.466
23. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 1min43.563
24. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 1min44.043
Stay with Wheels24 for the US GP weekend.