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

POSNODRIVERCARTIMEGAPLAPS
15Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:23.380 12
277Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:23.859+0.479s12
344Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:23.870+0.490s12
47Kimi RäikkönenFERRARI1:23.988+0.608s10
527Nico HulkenbergRENAULT1:25.063+1.683s10
63Daniel RicciardoRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER1:25.092+1.712s15
78Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:25.581+2.201s11
855Carlos SainzTORO ROSSO1:25.948+2.568s11
926Daniil KvyatTORO ROSSO1:26.049+2.669s11
1020Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:26.138+2.758s11
1119Felipe MassaWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:26.237+2.857s15
1233Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER1:26.269+2.889s7
1311Sergio PerezFORCE INDIA MERCEDES1:26.457+3.077s12
1414Fernando AlonsoMCLAREN HONDA1:26.556+3.176s7
152Stoffel VandoorneMCLAREN HONDA1:26.699+3.319s9
1631Esteban OconFORCE INDIA MERCEDES1:27.103+3.723s16
1718Lance StrollWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:27.327+3.947s12
189Marcus EricssonSAUBER FERRARI1:27.402+4.022s10
1930Jolyon PalmerRENAULT1:28.320+4.940s12
2036Antonio GiovinazziSAUBER FERRARI1:28.583+5.203s18