Vettel fastest in red-flagged final practice

Australian Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel was fastest in final practice, which ended under red flag conditions.

The session was stopped when Lance Stroll lost the rear of his Williams on the exit of Turn 10 and hit the barriers. He parked his car up further along the straight on the entry into the high-speed chicane.

The red flag interrupted the traditional time of the session when teams would perform their qualifying simulations, which meant everybody below the top six had set their fastest times on the supersoft tyre.

Valtteri Bottas was second fastest, four tenths down on Vettel and a single hundredth up on team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The two Mercedes were some quarter of a second down on their times from Friday. While it is understood that Ferrari have worked on their problems overnight, the increase in temperature could also have played into their hands.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth but suffered a left-rear puncture early in the running, which Ferrari put down to debris. The Finn’s engine cut out shortly after he was informed of the puncture, which saw him pulling into the run-off area at Turn 6.

Nico Hulkenberg managed to put in an ultrasoft tyre run before the red flag and was fifth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Both Red Bull drivers seemed to struggle massively during the session, with the Australian 1.7 seconds off Vettel’s pace.

Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of the two Toro Rosso and team mate Kevin Magnussen. Haas have been consistently running inside the top ten this weekend, and are looking strong for a Q3 appearance.

Felipe Massa was 11th ahead of Max Verstappen. Sergio Perez was 13th with the two McLarens splitting him and his team mate Esteban Ocon. Stoffel Vandoorne had an off-track excursion during the session as he lost the rear of his car at the apex of Turn 13 and ran through the gravel.

Fernando Alonso is reportedly running a new front wing and bargeboards on his car, which are currently unavailable to Vandoorne. They are believed to be worth three and a half tenths of a second.

Marcus Ericsson was 18th ahead of Jolyon Palmer, with Antonio Giovinazzi last in his first session of the weekend as he replaces Pascal Wehrlein for the remainder of the event.

Click here to see the results from FP3.


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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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