After two rain-affected sessions on Friday, Formula 1 finally had its first dry running in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday morning, but like on Friday, Lewis Hamilton continued to lead the way for Mercedes AMG PETRONAS.
The reigning World Champion set a best time of 1m25.624s of the Albert Park circuit and led a team 1-2 in practice ahead of Nico Rosberg, with the German 0.176s adrift, with both Mercedes drivers experiencing the Supersoft Pirelli tyre for the first time in 2016, having opted not to test it during pre-season testing.
Sebastian Vettel was a competitive third for Scuderia Ferrari, just 0.228s back on Hamilton’s pacesetting time, while Carlos Sainz Jr showed that Scuderia Toro Rosso has good pace with the 2015 Ferrari power unit, finishing less than seven-tenths back in fourth.
Kimi Raikkonen ended fifth in the second Ferrari ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, while Valtteri Bottas found himself inside the top ten for the first time this weekend in seventh for Williams Martini Racing, just ahead of home hero and the leading Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Felipe Massa put the second Williams into ninth ahead of Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez, who just edged out Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda for the final place in the top ten by just 0.021s.
Jenson Button ended the session twelfth in the second McLaren, with Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull thirteenth and Marcus Ericsson fourteenth for the Sauber F1 Team.
Kevin Magnussen was fifteenth for Renault Sport F1 ahead of a disappointed Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India after the German had finished second fastest in the damp FP2 on Friday afternoon.
Jolyon Palmer was down in seventeenth in the second Renault ahead of Haas F1 Team duo Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean, while the second Sauber of Felipe Nasr ended twentieth, ahead only of the two Manor Racing drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.
Haryanto and Grosjean collided in the pit lane early during the session when released by their teams at the same time, with the Manor driver needing a new front wing and the Haas driver a new floor before they were able to return to the track.
Albert Park Free Practice 3 Result
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m26.257s||28|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m26.701s||26|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1m26.768s||22|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1m27.242s||22|
|13||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1m27.430s||22|
|16||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m27.988s||22|