Mar 16, 2013, 12:17 AM EDT
Romain Grosjean managed to beat the rain clouds in Melbourne to finish on top in the final practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.
The Lotus driver set a quickest time of 1:26.929, edging out the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in a session which saw just fifteen minutes of dry running.
The majority of the drivers opted to go out early on the medium compound tire in order to set a representative time, although Lewis Hamilton was one of the drivers who opted to stay in the pits leaving him in last place come the end of the session.
Friday pace-setter Sebastian Vettel encountered problems with his Red Bull RB9 late on in the session. With ten minutes left, the defending champion pulled over with a suspected hydraulic failure which will cause some concern for the team ahead of qualifying later today.
Mercedes’ problematic weekend continued when Nico Rosberg suffered a problem with his KERS, but the German driver still finished in P11.
Jules Bianchi was one of the surprise packages of FP3, finishing in fourteenth place just behind the Red Bull pair of Vettel and Mark Webber.
The wet running caused many of the teams to stay in the pits in order to save their tires for qualifying in case the conditions fail to improve in Melbourne. The teams at the top will be pleased with their times, although the lack of a final dry session before qualifying will have left many cursing their problems on Friday which are yet to be ironed out.
Free Practice 3 – Classification
1 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.929 14 laps
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:27.000 +0.071 7 laps
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:27.241 +0.312 10 laps
4 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:27.533 +0.604 9 laps
5 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:27.625 +0.696 12 laps
6 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:27.849 +0.920 19 laps
7 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:27.860 +0.931 16 laps
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:28.069 +1.140 15 laps
9 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.253 +1.324 18 laps
10 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.253 +1.324 20 laps
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.486 +1.557 13 laps
12 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:29.808 +2.879 9 laps
13 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:30.073 +3.144 16 laps
14 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:30.388 +3.459 17 laps
15 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:30.598 +3.669 20 laps
16 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:30.959 +4.030 19 laps
17 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.236 +6.307 7 laps
18 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.527 +6.598 8 laps
19 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:39.232 +12.303 13 laps
20 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.779 +12.850 13 laps
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.872 +15.943 13 laps
22 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:47.246 +20.317 9 laps
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