Lewis Hamilton quickest in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton put McLaren on top of the times in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix, in a session that saw world champion Sebastian Vettel spin into the gravel

Lewis Hamilton quickest in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix

Hamilton waited until the final minute to complete his flyer, stopping the clock at 1m25.681s to outpace the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, second quickest.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was third quickest, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel finished down in seventh after spinning off with 15 minutes of the session left.

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button was fourth fastest, the Briton followed by Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari endured a difficult session, with Fernando Alonso finishing down in 16th position, two places ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa.

Track conditions improved vastly compared to yesterday's sessions, which were hit by rain, and final practice took place on a dry track under clear skies. That meant teams took full advantage of the 60 minutes in order to make up for the time lost yesterday.

Teams had an extra set of tyres available following yesterday's rain-hit practice.

After the initial installation laps from all drivers, Rosberg was the first man to attempt a timed lap five minutes into the session, but the German ran wide at the first corner. The same happened to team-mate Schumacher just seconds later but this time at Turn 2.

Rosberg still set the early benchmark initially with a 1m26.982, the quickest lap of the weekend at that point. The Mercedes driver remained on top of the times until the 17-minute mark, when Hamilton completed his first flying lap to relegate his rival to second.

The Briton did not last long as pace-setter, however, as Schumacher went quickest just seconds later, moments after the yellow flags were deployed when Felipe Massa spun at the penultimate corner. The Brazilian recovered straight away.

Rosberg returned to the top at the 23-minute mark with the first lap of the weekend in the 1m25s, outpacing Schumacher by three tenths of a second. A minute later the yellow flags were back out as Bruno Senna lost control of his Williams at the penultimate corner, spinning into the grass and driving straight back into the pits.

Vettel's session came to an early finish when he lost control of his car at Turn 6, the German spinning off the track. His Red Bull got stuck in the gravel and the world champion was unable to return to action, continuing with his difficult start to the weekend.

Grosjean jumped to first place with seven minutes remaining as the teams began to run with the softer Pirelli compound. Schumacher's session came to a halt a minute later when he spun into the gravel at Turn 9. The yellow flags ruined some of his rivals' runs.

With a minute to go, Hamilton put his McLaren at the head of the times with a time 0.077 seconds quicker than Grosjean, including the best time in sector three.

Pedro de la Rosa managed his first timed lap of the weekend in the HRT, the Spaniard struggling with power steering problems to finish over seven seconds off the pace in 23rd, ahead of team-mate Narain Karthikeyan.

With the 107 per cent cut-off time expected to be around 1m31s, both de la Rosa and team-mate Narain Karthikeyan face a tough battle to qualify for the race.

 Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.681s 18 2. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.758s + 0.077 21 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.900s + 0.219 20 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.906s + 0.225 17 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.929s + 0.248 23 6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.078s + 0.397 14 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m26.211s + 0.530 12 8. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.470s + 0.789 17 9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.632s + 0.951 20 10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.723s + 1.042 17 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.733s + 1.052 15 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.737s + 1.056 19 13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.755s + 1.074 21 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m27.029s + 1.348 23 15. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m27.119s + 1.438 20 16. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.323s + 1.642 19 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.428s + 1.747 22 18. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m28.023s + 2.342 19 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m28.341s + 2.660 19 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m28.702s + 3.021 11 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.728s + 5.047 13 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m31.225s + 5.544 14 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m33.114s + 7.433 12 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m33.261s + 7.580 13 All Timing Unofficial 
shares
comments
FIA asked to re-think its view on the Mercedes DRS-activated F-duct

Previous article

FIA asked to re-think its view on the Mercedes DRS-activated F-duct

Next article

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone trusts Bahrain Grand Prix will be safe

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone trusts Bahrain Grand Prix will be safe
Load comments
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021