• Australian GP - FP3

Rosberg over a second clear in final practice

ESPN Staff
March 15, 2014
© Sutton Images

Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, blitzing the opposition by over 1.3s.

Mercedes continued to live up to its tag as favourites this weekend as Rosberg beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton's fastest time from Friday by 0.3s. His closest rival was Jenson Button, 1.391s off, as several of the front runners failed to put together a clean hot lap on soft tyres.

Hamilton twice ran wide at Turn 9 as he chased his team-mate's time, but still ended the session fourth fastest with the time he set on medium tyres earlier in the session. Fernando Alonso was third fastest in the highest-placed non Mercedes-powered car, but was still 1.501s off the pace.

Williams again failed to show its true potential, with Felipe Massa unable to hook up a quick lap on soft tyres and Valtteri Bottas limited to just two laps due to a gearbox problem. The resulting gearbox change means he will be penalised five places from wherever he qualifies and Esteban Gutierrez is facing the same penalty after his Sauber limped back to the pits with a gearbox issue early in the session.

Red Bull had a mixed session, with Daniel Ricciardo fifth fastest but Sebastian Vettel labelling his RB10 "horrible". Vettel was struggling to get the power down smoothly coming out of corners and aborted his fast lap on soft tyres. Whether the car can be tweaked ahead of qualifying remains to be seen

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth fastest with a solid showing in the Force India, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who ran wide at Turn 9 on his hot lap in the Ferrari. Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Perez and Massa rounded out the top ten.

Lotus' problems continued with Romain Grosjean failing to set a lap time amid complaints about the drivability of his car. Team-mate Pastor Maldonado was 18th fastest but his session came to an end when his car stopped at Turn 15 just before the chequered flag.

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