Melbourne FP3: Vettel tops as Stroll shunts

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel beat his own lap record at Albert Park as he topped the timesheet in the final free practice before the Australian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

The four-times champion German’s lap of one minute 23.380 seconds eclipsed his pole record of 1:23.529 set at the lakeside circuit in 2011 and was nearly half a second faster than both the Mercedes cars.

Mercedes’ new driver Valtteri Bottas, who replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg, was second fastest, just edging three-times champion team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg fifth in his Renault.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, with his team mate Max Verstappen 12th.

Williams’ rookie driver Lance Stroll skidded into a barrier and blew a tyre, causing the red flag to be raised with 10 minutes left in the session.

The session was then called off, leaving constructors’ champions Mercedes unable to improve upon their times and adding spice to the qualifying.

Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.

Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park – Free Practice 1, Best Lap Times

POS NO DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:23.380   12
2 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:23.859 +0.479s 12
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:23.870 +0.490s 12
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:23.988 +0.608s 10
5 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:25.063 +1.683s 10
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:25.092 +1.712s 15
7 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:25.581 +2.201s 11
8 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 1:25.948 +2.568s 11
9 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO 1:26.049 +2.669s 11
10 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:26.138 +2.758s 11
11 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:26.237 +2.857s 15
12 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:26.269 +2.889s 7
13 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:26.457 +3.077s 12
14 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:26.556 +3.176s 7
15 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 1:26.699 +3.319s 9
16 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:27.103 +3.723s 16
17 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:27.327 +3.947s 12
18 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1:27.402 +4.022s 10
19 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1:28.320 +4.940s 12
20 36 Antonio Giovinazzi SAUBER FERRARI 1:28.583 +5.203s 18