Melbourne, FP3: Hamilton edges Vettel in final practice

Hamilton completes practice sweep in Australia


By Olivier Ferret

16 March 2019 - 05:09
Melbourne, FP3: Hamilton edges (...)

Lewis Hamilton made it a clean sweep of practice sessions at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, with the Mercedes driver claiming top sport in FP3 with 0.264s in hand over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Charles Leclerc finished third in the second Ferrari.

Of the expected frontrunners, Vettel was the first to bolt on a set of red walled C4 tyres with around a quarter of the session left to run. At the point the German sat in P3 0.379s off Hamilton who set the quickest time of the opening phase with a lap of 1:23.360.

However, with this weekend’s soft tyres on board, however, Vettel leapfrogged Mercedes Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton to claim top spot by eight tenths of a seconds.

The Ferrari driver’s team-mate Charles Leclerc took P2 with a time of 1:22.749 but he was closely followed on track by Hamilton who jumped ahead of both to take P1 with a lap of time 1:22.292.

Behind them it was a good session for Haas, with Romain Grosjean taking fourth place a little over three tenths of a seconds behind Leclerc. Grosjean, the last man within a second of Hamilton, was followed by team-mate Kevin Magnussen who finished 1.042 off the P1 pace.

Pierre Gasly was sevent for Red Bull Racing, outpacing more established team-mate Max Verstappen by just over a tenth of a second. Verstappen should have been higher up the order by a scruffy quali sim that saw him run wide midway through sector two left him ninth.

The Red Bulls were separated by Bottas, whose performance run was also compromised, this time by a slide wide at the end of the lap, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who showed good pace to take eighth place with a lap of 1:23.442. That was nine tenths of a second clear of team-mate Alex Albon who finished 15th.

The top 10 was rounded out by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo whose lap of 1:23.695 was 1.403 off Hamilton’s pace but a tenth ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

There was a minor incident during the session when Williams’ Robert Kubica misjudged the pit lane entry and clipped the wall on the left side, dislodging some bodywork.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:22.292 12
02 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:22.556 12
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:22.749 12
04 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:23.112 17
05 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:23.334 15
06 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda RB15 1:23.367 17
07 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:23.422 17
08 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:23.442 16
09 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:23.481 19
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:23.695 14
11 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:23.737 15
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:23.831 16
13 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:24.049 21
14 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:24.082 18
15 Alex Albon Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:24.328 15
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:24.345 16
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:24.402 18
18 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:24.568 16
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 1:25.944 14
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes FW42 1:26.589 16

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