Hamilton still fastest at the Australian Grand Prix after FP3

Sunshine comes to the Australian Grand Prix at last, as Lewis Hamilton tops the final practice session.

Lewis Hamilton continues to set the pace in Melbourne as Formula One prepares for its first elimination qualifying session. With rain interrupting Friday’s running, and FP3 times playing a part in qualifying, teams were out early doors to play catch up as they searched for tyre data. 

Rain showers had prevented any serious running across FP1 or two, causing teams to go into Saturday without knowing how long the tyres will last come the race. This saw a flurry of action from the lights as teams set out on longer runs to find the cliff.

Unfortunately for Grosjean, his session did not start well as he found his first run last all of a few yards before needing a new floor. Rio Haryanto of Manor was leaving his garage at the same time as the Frenchman but a hesitation caused Romain to continue on his way, only for the rookie to bury his front wing into the Haas and stop them both in the pit lane.

Mercedes meanwhile showed the supersoft tyres on a fresh circuit will only be good enough for 11 to 12 laps before the performance fell too much. After starting on presumably heavy fuel, the lap times they were able to muster fell by 0.7-0.8 seconds after an 11 lap run.

Red Bull on the other hand were pushing with the supersofts as they set the early pace. Their best in the hands of Ricciardo was however slower than what Raikkonen was capable of with the harder, soft compound fitted to his Scuderia.

Vettel soon bettered his team-mate’s time before the Mercedes duo found their feet in the final sector to take the top two slots. The gap between Vettel and the Silver Arrows however was minimal.

Once again a Toro Rosso finished highly while Renault at the other end showed they should struggle to get out of Q1, along with the Sauber’s and Manor’s.

Pos Driver Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton 1:25.624
2 Nico Rosberg 1:25.800 0.176
3 Sebastian Vettel 1:25.852 0.228
4 Carlos Sainz Jr. 1:26.257 0.633
5 Kimi Raikkonen 1:26.435 0.811
6 Max Verstappen 1:26.701 1.077
7 Valtteri Bottas 1:26.730 1.106
8 Daniel Ricciardo 1:26.768 1.144
9 Felipe Massa 1:27.151 1.527
10 Sergio Perez 1:27.242 1.618
11 Fernando Alonso 1:27.263 1.639
12 Jenson Button 1:27.341 1.717
13 Daniil Kvyat 1:27.430 1.806
14 Marcus Ericsson 1:27.659 2.035
15 Kevin Magnussen 1:27.871 2.247
16 Nico Hulkenberg 1:27.988 2.364
17 Jolyon Palmer 1:28.117 2.493
18 Esteban Gutierrez 1:28.284 2.66
19 Romain Grosjean 1:28.292 2.668
20 Felipe Nasr 1:28.293 2.669
21 Pascal Wehrlein 1:29.046 3.422
22 Rio Haryanto 1:29.272 3.648