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
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