Mercedes driver George Russell showed his superiority in the final practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, setting the fastest lap time before the session was red-flagged five minutes early. On Friday night, drivers had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the obstacles of the newly introduced Las Vegas Strip Circuit, a venue spanning 6.201 kilometres.
After a lacklustre showing on Friday, Mercedes looked remarkably fast on Saturday, especially when driven by Russell, who set the day's best time with a surprising 1 minute 34.093 seconds, placing himself less than four-tenths ahead of McLaren's Oscar Piastri. Despite the interruption caused by the red flag with less than five minutes remaining, Russell's position at the top remained undisturbed.
During the session, multiple narratives unfolded, one of which being Alex Albon's incident with the barrier, leading to a collision with the left side of his Williams car. Max Verstappen, who had been leading the standings by large margins at various points in the session, ran into trouble when he slid off the track on the first flying lap of his last run. Despite the difficulties, Verstappen managed to finish in fourth place on the timesheets, with teammate Sergio Perez not far behind.
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix: Free Practice 2 Result
Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin finished seventh, ahead of Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas of Williams, and Kevin Magnussen of Haas rounded out the top 10. During his last lap of the race, Lando Norris had to overcome an obstacle as he skidded out of Turn 12 and had to recover expertly. Despite nearly avoiding the wall, the compromised lap time demoted him to the 11th spot. The top 12 were as follows: Nico Hulkenberg (12), Lance Stroll (13), Esteban Ocon (14), and Zhou Guanyu (15).
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, driving for Ferrari, had their best lap times early in the practice when the circuit was at its slowest, but they subsequently fell to 16th and 17th by the end of the session. Yuki Tsunoda finished 18th, and Daniel Ricciardo came in last for AlphaTauri, separated by Pierre Gasly in the Alpine.
|1||George Russell||Mercedes F1 Team||1m34.093s|
|2||Oscar Piastri||McLaren F1 Team||1m34.491s|
|3||Logan Sargeant||Williams Racing||1m34.645s|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1m34.643s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||1m34.706s|
|6||Alex Albon||Williams Racing||1m34.726s|
|7||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Formula One Team||1m34.788s|
|8||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes F1 Team||1m34.853s|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||1m34.908s|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||MoneyGram Haas F1||1m35.067s|
|11||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||1m35.089s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas F1 Team||1m35.112s|
|13||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Formula One Team||1m35.253s|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Alpine F1 Team||1m35.297s|
|15||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||1m35.881s|
|16||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||1m35.908s|
|17||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari||1m35.939s|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m36.087s|
|19||Pierre Gasly||Alpine F1 Team||1m36.485s|
|20||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m37.778s|
The FIA decided prior to the session to increase passing opportunities by extending the second DRS zone on the Strip by 50 metres. Now that the weekend's practice sessions are over, the teams and drivers can meet for one last debriefing before the midnight local time qualifying session to fine-tune their setups.