Final Practice for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix was another whitewash for the the Mercedes AMG team as Nico Rosberg set a terrifyingly fast laptime to finish the session over 1.3 seconds clear of 2nd placed Jenson Button, with Fernando Alonso in 3rd.
Lewis Hamilton wound up 4th after making a mistake on his single flying lap on the soft tyre, but still managed to work through a successful session in the build-up to a qualifying hour Mercedes are expected to walk away with.
Elsewhere though there was continued frustration for Lotus, Romain Grosjean branding the E22 ‘horrible’ after it suffered a misfire early on and saw him miss out on a large chunk of running once again. Likewise there was frustration at Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel ended up 11th, complaining the RB10 ‘doesn’t accelerate’ on a full fuel load simulating race start conditions. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo managed 5th fastest, some 1.3 ahead of his more experienced stablemate.
Of the rookies, it was again Kevin Magnussen who set the bar highest for McLaren and ended the session 8th, while Daniil Kvyat avoided his Friday antics and was an encouraging 11th for Toro Rosso.
Surprisingly there appeared to be a switch of situation at Williams and Force India, with the Silverstone-based Anglo-Indian team emerging on top today after Williams looked in podium-finishing form on Friday. Valtteri Bottas suffered a gearbox failure that has left him with a five-place grid penalty to serve, hindering his hopes for the race. Crosswind at turn nine caused many drivers issues, but the session didn’t see any mistakes resulting in accidents.
Qualifying is at 06:00 GMT.
CLASSIFICATION – FREE PRACTICE THREE – 2014 AUSTRALIAN GP