Australian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to top FP3

Lewis Hamilton completed his domination of Australian Grand Prix practice, as Mercedes maintained an advantage over Ferrari ahead of the first qualifying session of the new Formula 1 season.

Australian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to top FP3

After topping Friday practice and enjoying a huge advantage over the next-fastest team, Hamilton continued his good form into FP3 on Saturday afternoon.

He hit the head of the times as soon as he pumped in a first flying lap and regained the advantage on the two occasions he was briefly bumped back.

The first came seconds after Valtteri Bottas had completed a second flying lap, and the next came when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel used new soft tyres to go quickest.

Hamilton’s second run on new softs yielded a 1m22.292s, enough to beat Vettel by 0.264s.

Charles Leclerc completed Ferrari’s rise from the foot of the top 10 to go third-fastest, 0.457s, but Mercedes appears to have its rival from Maranello at arm’s length heading into qualifying.

The only blip for Mercedes was Bottas’s failure to set a true time on his second set of new tyres.

He ran wide exiting the penultimate corner and got sideways after touching the grass, which limited him to a 1m23.422s – only good enough for seventh.

That, combined with a surprisingly muted session from Red Bull, allowed Haas duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen take fourth and fifth in the times.

Grosjean was 0.820s slower than Mercedes, two tenths clear of Magnussen, who in turn was a few hundredths clear of Pierre Gasly in the lead Red Bull.

Daniil Kvyat set the eighth-fastest time in the Toro Rosso, indicating the Honda engine was not the reason Red Bull were towards the foot of the top 10 as Max Verstappen ended the session ninth.

Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10, less than half a tenth clear of his Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg.

At the tail of the field, Williams remains detached from the midfield battle.

George Russell was the team’s quickest driver again, outpacing Robert Kubica by six tenths but lapping 3.6s off the pace and 1.4s behind McLaren’s Lando Norris in 18th.

Kubica slapped the pitwall when he ran wide entering the pitlane, scattering a small amount of debris.

He was also involved in a pitlane incident with Norris that saw McLaren fined €5000 for an unsafe release.

Session results

Cla # Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 12 1'22.292  
2 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 12 1'22.556 0.264
3 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 12 1'22.749 0.457
4 8 France Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 17 1'23.112 0.820
5 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 15 1'23.334 1.042
6 10 France Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda 17 1'23.367 1.075
7 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 17 1'23.422 1.130
8 26 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda 16 1'23.442 1.150
9 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda 19 1'23.481 1.189
10 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault Renault 14 1'23.695 1.403
11 27 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 15 1'23.737 1.445
12 99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari 16 1'23.831 1.539
13 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Renault 21 1'24.049 1.757
14 11 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes 18 1'24.082 1.790
15 23 Thailand Alex Albon Toro Rosso Honda 15 1'24.328 2.036
16 18 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes 16 1'24.345 2.053
17 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari 18 1'24.402 2.110
18 4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Renault 16 1'24.568 2.276
19 63 United Kingdom George Russell Williams Mercedes 14 1'25.944 3.652
20 88 Poland Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 16 1'26.589 4.297
shares
comments
Red Bull changes Verstappen's chassis

Previous article

Red Bull changes Verstappen's chassis

Next article

McLaren extends Coca-Cola deal through 2019

McLaren extends Coca-Cola deal through 2019
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Sub-event FP3
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021