Australian Grand Prix: Practice 3

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

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.624
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.800
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:25.852
4 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:26.257
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.435
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:26.701
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:27.458
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:27.730
9 Felipe Massa Williams 1:27.151
10 Sergio Perez Force India 1:27.242
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:27.263
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.341
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:27.430
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:27.659
15 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:27.871
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:27.988
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:28.117
18 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:28.284
19 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:28.292
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:28.293
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:29.046
22 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:29.272

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (, which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (, which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at