Melbourne FP3: Vettel tops as Stroll shunts
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel beat his own lap record at Albert Park as he topped the timesheet in the final free practice before the Australian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.
The four-times champion German’s lap of one minute 23.380 seconds eclipsed his pole record of 1:23.529 set at the lakeside circuit in 2011 and was nearly half a second faster than both the Mercedes cars.
Mercedes’ new driver Valtteri Bottas, who replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg, was second fastest, just edging three-times champion team mate Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg fifth in his Renault.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, with his team mate Max Verstappen 12th.
Williams’ rookie driver Lance Stroll skidded into a barrier and blew a tyre, causing the red flag to be raised with 10 minutes left in the session.
The session was then called off, leaving constructors’ champions Mercedes unable to improve upon their times and adding spice to the qualifying.
Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.
Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park – Free Practice 1, Best Lap Times
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:25.092||+1.712s||15|
|7||8||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||1:25.581||+2.201s||11|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||TORO ROSSO||1:25.948||+2.568s||11|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||TORO ROSSO||1:26.049||+2.669s||11|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||1:26.138||+2.758s||11|
|11||19||Felipe Massa||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:26.237||+2.857s||15|
|12||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:26.269||+2.889s||7|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:26.457||+3.077s||12|
|14||14||Fernando Alonso||MCLAREN HONDA||1:26.556||+3.176s||7|
|15||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||MCLAREN HONDA||1:26.699||+3.319s||9|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:27.103||+3.723s||16|
|17||18||Lance Stroll||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:27.327||+3.947s||12|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||SAUBER FERRARI||1:27.402||+4.022s||10|
|20||36||Antonio Giovinazzi||SAUBER FERRARI||1:28.583||+5.203s||18|