Formula 1

Vettel fastest in mixed Free Practice 3

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Vettel during practice
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

On the drying Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, it was Sebastian Vettel who went quickest in Free Practice Three on the Ultrasoft tyre.

The conditions were mixed for the third practice session, and thus lap times came tumbling down in the last few minutes, with Vettel finishing over two seconds faster than team-mate and second fastest Kimi Raikkonen. It was a fairly unrepresentative session, which was proved by the third fastest time, which belonged to Marcus Ericsson in the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. All the top three times were posted on the ultrasoft tyre.

The fastest lap on Intermediate tyres was Max Verstappen in fourth, which was roughly one and a half seconds faster than Carlos Sainz Jr. in fifth. Daniel Ricciardo followed closely behind in sixth but has not been displaying the same pace as his team-mate thus far this weekend. The home favourite has also been given a three-place grid penalty for the race tomorrow.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were seventh and eighth fastest respectively in the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport cars, although there was an early issue for Hamilton, which resulted in a change of steering wheel. Behind them was another pair of team-mates, this time the McLaren F1 Team drivers. Stoffel Vandoorne just edged Fernando Alonso for ninth, but Alonso had been on a quick lap before being called in to pit.

Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda drivers went eleventh and twelfth quickest, once again with Pierre Gasly just managing to get the better of team-mate Brendon Hartley. Williams Martini Racing rookie Sergey Sirotkin followed them in thirteenth, beating Lance Stroll for the second time this weekend in a practice session.

The Haas F1 Team cars had looked strong throughout Friday practices but were off the pace in FP3, with Romain Grosjean in fifteenth and Kevin Magnussen seventeenth with Charles Leclerc separating them.

The first driver out on Intermediate tyres had been Nico Hulkenberg, but after a massive save coming out of Turn Four, his time stagnated and he was the slowest of everyone who set a lap-time. Neither Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers completed a timed lap, and so sit down the bottom of the timesheets.

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