By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer
A dry track was a welcome response to the second day of Formula 1 running as practice finished and the Australian Grand Prix turns toward qualifying. With everyone anxious to get in some dry running, the teams lined up to get going as soon as the track went hot.
This did not work out so well for Haas and Manor as Rio Haryanto drove into the side of the Haas entry as they both were leaving the pitlane before a single lap was even turned. Manor was able to impart repairs quickly, but for Grosjean, the session was sliced in half as the Haas VF-16 needed time for repairs to the floor and front wing.
Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel all spent time atop the leader board but as the session wound down, it was Mercedes who took command as expected. Nico Rosberg took the lead atop the board and Hamilton quickly slotted in behind him. In the last 15 minutes, Lewis Hamilton went fastest, leading the practice session. That put Hamilton atop the charts for all three practice sessions. Hamilton was followed by teammate Rosberg in what may have been the first time the Mercedes showed their true speed this season.
It won’t be the last!
Sebastian Vettel tucked in behind Rosberg, while Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso split the Ferrari pair, taking 4th place ahead of Raikkonen.
As has been predicted, the mid-pack is more tightly contested this year with teams like McLaren, Renault, Haas and even Manor showing much greater pace in the final practice session. With increased pace from some of the previously weaker teams, and a qualifying twist that has yet been tested, expect an interesting session as the grid is set.
Free Practice 3 Results
|4||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:26.257|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:26.701|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:27.730|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:27.242|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:27.430|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:27.988|