Grosjean Lifts Lotus To The Top In Final Practice Session

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean has finished the third and final practice session of the Australian Grand Prix by topping the timesheets. The Frenchman survived a mixed weather session to trump Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa who lined up second and third. Paul di Resta was happy after finishing fourth while Kimi Riakkonen was fifth. Local boy Daniel Ricciardo led a Toro Rosso 6-7 with his French team-mate, Jean-Eric Vergne lining up just 0.01 behind him.

Adrian Sutil was eighth at the end of the session while the man he’s replacing, Nico Hulkenberg survived a late slide in the grass at turn 12 to take ninth. Esteban Gutierrez lined up right behind his team-mate, taking tenth while Nico Rosberg fought off tire heating problems to finish the session in eleventh.

Sebastian Vettel pulled straight off the circuit at turn 4 with just 10 minutes left in the session with mechanical woes. His Aussie team-mate was behind him in thirteenth but avoided any similar problems. Jules Bianchi took full advantage of the mixed conditions to put in a lap worthy of fourteenth place, beating Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde who finished fifteenth. Charles Pic was sixteenth while Jenson Button couldn’t better seventeenth as McLaren look increasingly off the pace as the weekend progresses.

Sergio Perez was behind Button in eighteenth while Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas lined up nineteenth and twentieth respectively. Max Chilton finished the day in twenty-first for Marussia while Lewis Hamilton finished twenty-second and last.

The intimidating grey clouds soon turned to rain and the cars were left confined to the garages midway through the session before the teams finally conceded that they needed to get some running in. Felipe Massa was first back out on track soon followed by Esteban Gutierrez and then Fernando Alonso. Eventually the track began to fill, with some slips and slides from the drivers but no big incidents. Vettel, in an unrelated incident, pulled the RB9 off the track when he suffered what was believed to be a hydraulics failure in the closing minutes of the session. Eventually, the team discovered that it was a sensor giving a false reading, but it was too late to make a difference. Nico Hulkenberg survived a heart-stopping sideways trip through the grass while Giedo van der Garde and Valtteri Bottas also gave the grass a trim.

Qualifying gets underway at 6am GMT. The best guess as of last night was to tip Sebastian Vettel for pole but with rain expected anything can happen – and probably will.

  1. Romain Grosjean
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Felipe Massa
  4. Paul di Resta
  5. Kimi Raikkonen
  6. Daniel Ricciardo
  7. Jean-Eric Vergne
  8. Adrian Sutil
  9. Nico Hulkenberg
  10. Esteban Gutierrez
  11. Nico Rosberg
  12. Sebastian Vettel
  13. Mark Webber
  14. Jules Bianchi
  15. Giedo van der Garde
  16. Charles Pic
  17. Jenson Button
  18. Sergio Perez
  19. Pastor Maldonado
  20. Valtteri Bottas
  21. Max Chilton
  22. Lewis Hamilton

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