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