- Australian GP - FP3
Hamilton fast but wild in final practiceLaurence Edmondson in Melbourne March 14, 2015
Lewis Hamilton led the way in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, although his session was not without a few wild moments behind the wheel of the Mercedes W06.
Hamilton's best time in FP3 was actually slower than team-mate Nico Rosberg's hot lap in FP2 as the Albert Park track appeared to offer less grip than on Friday. Both Mercedes drivers went off the track at Turn 9 while running the medium compound tyres and struggled for rear-end grip throughout the lap.
Nevertheless, the Mercedes still appears to be the class of the field and Hamilton was 0.696s clear of Sebastian Vettel, who continues to show improved - if not race-winning - pace in the Ferrari. Rosberg appeared to be focused on higher fuel runs on the soft tyres as neither of his flying laps were within a second of the best time he posted on Friday.
Williams are within striking distance of Vettel's Ferrari and both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the timings. Lotus put in a solid showing with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado making the top ten ahead of Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso and Felipe Nasr in the Sauber.
Red Bull are expected to trouble the top ten this weekend, but more problems with both cars resulted in Daniel Ricciardo completing 10 laps and Daniil Kvyat just six. Kvayt's issue was the most mysterious as he locked up both front tyresand ran wide at the penultimate corner early in the session. The Red Bull stuttered across the grass and back to the pits where it remained for the rest of the session. Ricciardo did not fare much better with the 15th fastest time and a problem when his car stopped at the end of the pit lane.
The Red Bulls were joined in the lower echelons of the timesheets by the two McLaren, which again lacked pace. Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen completed a respectable amount of laps for an hour-long FP3 session, but it is clear that the car is a long way from its full potential ahead of the first qualifying session of the year.
Manor once again failed to make the session as the team focuses all its efforts on getting on track in qualifying.
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1