Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2014

Rosberg comfortably quickest in final practice

2014 Australian Grand Prix third practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2014Nico Rosberg ended the final practice session comfortably quickest for Mercedes.

Rosberg’s lap of 1’29.375 is the fastest seen so far this weekend and was the quickest of any driver in the session by a clear second.

The Mercedes driver enjoyed the benefit of setting a clean lap on the soft tyres, something not all of his rivals managed to do. Lewis Hamilton aborted his soft tyre run after running wide at turn nine.

That proved a problem corner for several drivers. Jenson Button went off there twice on his way to the second-fastest time in the McLaren, albeit well over a second off Rosberg’s pace.

Team mate Kevin Magnussen also went off there, as did Kimi Raikkonen.

Fernando Alonso set the third-fastest time for Ferrari ahead of Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo. The latter was the quickest of the Red Bull drivers as Sebastian Vettel was forced to abandon his soft tyre run due to a problem with his engine map. “We are concerned some settings may damage the engine,” advised race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin.

Other drivers had more serious problems. Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez both had gearbox failures and will require replacement units, incurring five-place grid penalties.

And Romain Grosjean’s session was dogged by repeated setbacks, beginning with an engine misfire, leading to a series of increasingly terse radio conversations. “Even the pit limiter doesn’t work,” he sighed at one point.

Fears that few teams would run during the session due to reliability concerns proved unfounded. Under overcast skies the track was quickly full of cars as teams feared a rain shower was imminent. It failed to materialise, and by the end of the session the air temperature was nudging 30C. However a chance of rain remains ahead of the first qualifying session of the year.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’29.375 15
2 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’30.766 1.391 20
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’30.876 1.501 11
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’30.919 1.544 13
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’30.970 1.595 13
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’30.978 1.603 16
7 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’31.156 1.781 12
8 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.251 1.876 22
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’31.665 2.290 17
10 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’31.723 2.348 20
11 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’31.925 2.550 17
12 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.255 2.880 14
13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’32.417 3.042 16
14 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’34.184 4.809 15
15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’34.188 4.813 16
16 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’34.413 5.038 19
17 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’34.717 5.342 15
18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’34.754 5.379 15
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’36.159 6.784 21
20 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2
21 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2
22 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.604 1’29.782 1’29.375 -0.407 63
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’29.625 1’30.919 +1.294 51
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’31.840 1’30.132 1’30.876 +0.744 59
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.793 1’30.381 1’32.255 +1.874 65
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.357 1’30.510 1’30.766 +0.256 76
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’32.599 1’30.538 1’30.970 +0.432 77
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’32.977 1’30.898 1’31.156 +0.258 63
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’32.403 1’30.920 67
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’33.533 1’31.054 1’30.978 -0.076 72
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.847 1’31.031 1’31.251 +0.22 84
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’33.446 1’31.060 1’32.417 +1.357 81
12 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’32.431 1’31.119 1’31.723 +0.604 70
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’33.855 1’31.283 1’31.665 +0.382 77
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’34.272 1’32.495 1’31.925 -0.57 82
15 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.445 1’32.355 1’34.188 +1.833 65
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.578 1’32.468 35
17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’40.859 1’33.486 1’34.184 +0.698 50
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’33.646 16
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’34.413 20
20 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’46.922 1’34.757 1’34.717 -0.04 48
21 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’34.754 17
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’36.159 23

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei