Romain Grosjean topped the timesheets in a rain-hit practice session

Romain Grosjean set the pace in the final free practice session for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa completed the top-three, while Sebastian Vettel suffered a late hydraulics failure and had to stop on-track.

However, the session was rain-affected from about fifteen minutes into proceedings, rendering the overall timesheet results rather useless when trying to predict some sort of form guide when qualifying comes around later this afternoon.

Proceedings started under rain-heavy skies when the pit lane opened at 2:00pm local time, and the teams quickly scrambled their drivers to clock up a few dry-weather lap times before the heavens opened.

Twenty minutes into proceedings and the track was desolate – save for windblown leaf litter in the squally conditions – and it took a further quarter of an hour before anyone opted for a run on wet-weather tyres.

Ultimately, Felipe Massa would lead the way with a timed effort some 20 seconds off Grosjean’s ultimate pace on the Pirelli full wet tyres. As a dry line began to emerge, the field switched to intermediate rubber.

Aside from Vettel’s stoppage, the session had no major incidents to report other than a few drivers running wide as they tried to explore the limits of grip around the Albert Park circuit.

Conditions are expected to remain similar leading into and during this afternoon’s qualifying session, which starts at 5:00pm local time.


2013 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:26.929   14
2. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:27.000 + 0.071 7
3. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:27.241 + 0.312 10
4. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:27.533 + 0.604 9
5. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:27.625 + 0.696 12
6. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:27.849 + 0.920 19
7. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:27.860 + 0.931 16
8. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:28.069 + 1.140 15
9. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:28.253 + 1.324 18
10. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:28.253 + 1.324 20
11. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:28.486 + 1.557 13
12. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:29.808 + 2.879 9
13. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:30.073 + 3.144 16
14. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:30.388 + 3.459 17
15. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:30.598 + 3.669 20
16. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:30.959 + 4.030 19
17. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:33.236 + 6.307 7
18. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:33.527 + 6.598 8
19. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:39.232 + 12.303 13
20. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:39.779 + 12.850 13
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:42.872 + 15.943 13
22. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:47.246 + 20.317 9

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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