Grosjean quickest as problem halts Vettel

2013 Australian Grand Prix third practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013Romain Grosjean put Lotus on top after rain hit the track during the final practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.

But having led both of yesterday’s sessions Sebastian Vettel hit trouble when his car stopped in the dying minutes of the final hour.

All the drivers had hit the track within minutes of the start as teams hurried on with their programmes in anticipation of the incoming rain

The Ferrari pair led the times initially with Fernando Alonso stopping the clocks on exactly 87 seconds. But just before the rain came he was pipped by Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.

Several drivers had switched to the super soft tyres in an attempt to get a run in on those when the rain arrived with less than 15 minutes’ running completed. No one managed a run on the softer tyres before the track was doused, and for the next 20 minutes there was no action at the track.

Felipe Massa broke the silence with 25 minutes remaining, taking to the track on wet weather tyres. Most of the drivers soon followed them, including the four who failed to set a time when the track was dry.

Once the rain stopped the track dried quickly, and with just over ten minutes to go drivers had begun using the intermediate tyres.

Vettel had just gone out on the intermediates when his car came to a stop at turn four. Race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin was quick to tell him to pull over to look after the car.

The slippery track caused several off-track moments for other drivers including Giedo van der Garde and the Sauber pair. But by the end of the session it had dried sufficiently that some teams were considering a switch to slicks.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’26.929 14
2 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’27.000 0.071 7
3 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’27.241 0.312 10
4 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’27.533 0.604 9
5 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’27.625 0.696 12
6 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.849 0.920 19
7 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.860 0.931 16
8 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’28.069 1.140 15
9 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.253 1.324 18
10 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.253 1.324 20
11 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’28.486 1.557 13
12 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’29.808 2.879 9
13 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’30.073 3.144 16
14 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.388 3.459 17
15 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’30.598 3.669 20
16 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’30.959 4.030 19
17 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’33.236 6.307 7
18 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’33.527 6.598 8
19 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’39.232 12.303 13
20 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’39.779 12.850 13
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.872 15.943 13
22 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’47.246 20.317 9

Australian Grand Prix combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’27.211 1’25.908 1’29.808 +3.9 58
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’27.668 1’26.172 1’30.073 +3.901 65
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’28.013 1’26.322 1’28.486 +2.164 56
4 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’27.877 1’26.361 1’27.625 +1.264 67
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’28.520 1’26.680 1’26.929 +0.249 61
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’27.547 1’26.748 1’27.000 +0.252 58
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’27.552 1’26.772 1’47.246 +20.474 55
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’27.289 1’26.855 1’27.241 +0.386 59
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’28.426 1’27.435 1’28.069 +0.634 69
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’28.910 1’28.311 1’27.533 -0.778 64
11 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’30.969 1’28.627 1’27.849 -0.778 69
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’30.729 1’28.968 1’27.860 -1.108 69
13 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.786 1’28.187 1’28.253 +0.066 71
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’30.203 1’28.772 1’28.253 -0.519 70
15 Jenson Button McLaren 1’28.440 1’28.294 1’33.236 +4.942 56
16 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’28.597 1’28.566 1’33.527 +4.961 60
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’29.443 1’28.852 1’39.232 +10.38 69
18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’29.928 1’29.386 1’39.779 +10.393 71
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’31.263 1’29.696 1’30.388 +0.692 73
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’32.274 1’30.165 1’30.959 +0.794 77
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’32.388 1’32.450 1’30.598 -1.79 49
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’32.176 1’30.600 1’42.872 +12.272 72

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Lotus/LAT