Lewis Hamilton dominates final F1 practice session in Melbourne

Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg almost a second slower in last running before qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton dominates final F1 practice session in Melbourne
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T leads team mate Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
A bird watches Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB11 pass
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB11

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton set a scorching pace in the final free practice session on Saturday morning ahead of Australian Grand Prix qualifying in Melbourne.

Hamilton set the pace on 1:27.867 around Albert Park, seven tenths of a second faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Rosberg was only third quickest on 1:28.821.

Rosberg had set the early pace on the medium tyre running, with a 1:29.364, but Hamilton toppled him with a 1:29.128 – despite a couple of grassy excursions at Turn 9.

Rosberg was the first of the frontrunners to try the soft tyres this weekend, setting 1:28.939 at first, later improving to 28.821.

Then Hamilton pinged in his 1:27.867 best with five minutes to go, with Vettel posting 1:28.563 soon after to go second fastest, pushing Rosberg back to third.

Hamilton’s second lap was faster in the first two sectors, but he aborted that lap – so he could go even quicker this afternoon.

Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Lotus twins Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were next up, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso), Felipe Nasr (Sauber) and Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso).

Red Bull in the wars

It was a disastrous session for Red Bull. First, newboy Daniil Kvyat locked up and went straight on at Turn 15 early on due to an engine software issue that accelerated the car under braking. “The Renault guys are looking at that one,” sighed team principal Christian Horner from the pitwall.

Kvyat ended the session 18th on 1:32.830 and his session was curtailed 10 minutes early due to an engine fire.

Things were little better with local hero Daniel Ricciardo, 15th on 1:31.185, who complained: “Really bad driveability” from his engine in his early laps. He was forced to stop after 28 minutes of the session, being fortunate to get pushed back by marshals from where he'd ground to a halt at the end of the pitlane.

Ricciardo rejoined 10 minutes later, but required his brakes bleeding which forced him to also end his session prematurely. 

Red Bull was the only team not to run the soft tyre in that session, but Ricciardo still outpaced the two tardy McLarens, which used the softs.

Others hit some trouble too

Elsewhere, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson spun exiting Turn 12 and did a good job to keep it out of the wall.

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen (16th) and Force India’s Sergio Perez (14th) had near miss at final corner, which angered the Mexican, while Sainz ran through gravel.

The Manor machines again didn’t venture from the pit garage and look unlikely to run at any point this weekend.

Pos. Driver  Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.867   11
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:28.563 0.696 13
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.821 0.954 14
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:28.912 1.045 14
5 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:28.988 1.121 18
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:29.017 1.150 13
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1:29.481 1.614 12
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1:29.864 1.997 15
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault 1:29.869 2.002 19
10 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1:29.934 2.067 24
11 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1:29.952 2.085 16
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1:30.613 2.746 21
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:30.741 2.874 14
14 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:30.993 3.126 17
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:31.185 3.318 10
16 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Honda 1:31.391 3.524 14
17 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1:31.666 3.799 13
18 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1:32.830 4.463 6
shares
comments
Australian Grand Prix FP3 results: Hamilton back on top
Previous article

Australian Grand Prix FP3 results: Hamilton back on top

Next article

Under pressure Renault has most tokens to use in season for development

Under pressure Renault has most tokens to use in season for development
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Prime

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months.

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Prime

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. Oleg Karpov asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021