Lotus driver Romain Grosjean took full advantage of a brief dry period at the start of FP3 in Melbourne to set fastest time from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
The Frenchman’s time of 1:26:929 was good enough to keep the Lotus at the top, a position virtually unassailable when the heavens opened twenty minutes into the session.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel hit trouble when a hydraulic failure forced him to park his Red Bull RB9 with just ten minutes remaining, ironically in front of the so-called ‘Vettel stand’ where many of his fans congregate.
Severa drivers, including Max Chilton and Lewis Hamilton, failed to set representative laptimes in the dry part of the session and stayed below the 107% qualifying cut off mark; it is expected conditions will remain much the same for qualifying itself which saw drivers and teams try to conserve the precious Pirelli wet-weather rubber at their disposal.
McLaren claimed to have made ‘changes’ to the MP4/28 overnight, but both drivers continued to report oversteer, graining and a lack of grip.
|4||Paul DI RESTA||Force India||+0.604|
|6||Daniel RICCIARDO||Toro Rosso||+0.920|
|7||Jean Eric VERGNE||Toro Rosso||+0.931|
|8||Adrian SUTIL||Force India||+1.140|
|12||Sebastian VETTEL||Red Bull||+2.879|
|13||Mark WEBBER||Red Bull||+3.144|
|15||Giedo VAN DER GARDE||Caterham||+3.669|