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Rapid Vettel shows Red Bull pace in P3

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Australia 2011Red Bull gave its rivals a glimpse of its true potential after dominating the third free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix - with world champion Sebastian Vettel heading team-mate Mark Webber.

Vettel set a breathtaking 1m24.507s lap in the final minutes of the session on the soft Pirellis. But interestingly, the German's fastest time on the harder prime tyre - set 15 minutes earlier - was also quicker than anyone else could manage all session long.

That might not have been the case for Webber, whose two quick runs on the softs were ruined on successive laps by the slow-moving cars of Narain Karthekiyan and Nick Heidfeld.

The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button maintained yesterday's promise by going third and fourth fastest. The pair were split by a hundredth of a second at the end of a session which saw Button lock up and run off track at Turn 3 early on.

Vitaly Petrov was one of the surprises of FP3, setting the fifth fastest time for Renault, having been deep inside the top ten for much of the hour.

Fernando Alonso could only manage the sixth fastest time for Ferrari, having looked reasonably ragged on his soft-tyre run. Kamui Kobayashi put Sauber an impressive seventh ahead of Nico Rosberg, Heidfeld in the second Renault and Michael Schumacher completing the top ten.

Sebastien Buemi was another surprisingly impressive performer, only slipping out of the top ten in the final moments of the session for Toro Rosso.

Paul di Resta once again outpaced Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil in 14th, while Rubens Barrichello could only manage 16th after a disastrous session for the Williams team. Having watched team-mate Pastor Maldonado beach his car in the gravel, the Brazilian had to abandon the session before the end because of a suspected oil leak related to the gearbox.

HRT finally managed to get Karthikeyan on track - the Indian completed five laps, 17s off the pace - but Vitantonio Liuzzi was forced to stop his car on the out-lap.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault      1m24.507s            15
 2.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m25.364s  +  0.857  14
 3.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.553s  +  1.046  15
 4.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.567s  +  1.060  16
 5.  Petrov         Renault               1m25.906s  +  1.399  18
 6.  Alonso         Ferrari               1m26.121s  +  1.614  16
 7.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari        1m26.417s  +  1.910  17
 8.  Rosberg        Mercedes              1m26.520s  +  2.013  17
 9.  Heidfeld       Renault               1m26.746s  +  2.239  17
10.  Schumacher     Mercedes              1m26.856s  +  2.349  15
11.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m27.008s  +  2.501  17
12.  Massa          Ferrari               1m27.011s  +  2.504  15
13.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m27.066s  +  2.559  14
14.  di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m27.087s  +  2.580  15
15.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1m27.180s  +  2.673  15
16.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1m28.068s  +  3.561   7
17.  Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m28.077s  +  3.570   9
18.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1m29.772s  +  5.265  17
19.  Trulli         Lotus-Renault         1m30.003s  +  5.496  18
20.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m30.261s  +  5.754  15
21.  Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1m30.496s  +  5.989   5
22.  D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1m30.704s  +  6.197  18
23.  Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m41.554s  + 17.047   5
24.  Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth          No time               1

All Timing Unofficial
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