Hamilton asserts authority as Ricciardo struggles
Lewis Hamilton asserted his authority ahead of Australian Grand Prix qualifying by topping third practice at Albert Park.
The reigning world champion was embroiled in a battle with his team-mate for the quickest time throughout the hour long hit out before posting a head turning 1:27.867s effort on soft tyres.
Rosberg had held the top spot for the majority of third practice before the two Mercedes drivers swapped positions in the final quarter.
Both Hamilton and Rosberg utilised soft tyres towards as the time ticked towards the chequered flag.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel emerged in second spot 0.696s slower than Hamilton with Rosberg almost a second adrift in third.
It proved to be another difficult session for Ricciardo who encountered issues having undergone an engine change yesterday.
The Australian complained of drivability problems on his opening lap before being forced into the pits to try and fix the problem.
His team sent him back out but the RB11 came to halt on pit exit where it was then wheeled back to the pits.
The Perth driver ended the session in 15th spot.
Ricciardo’s team-mate Daniil Kvyat also complained of power issues and was forced back to the pits with just five minutes of running completed.
Williams displayed encouraging pace with Valtteri Bottas in fourth just ahead of Felipe Massa and the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in sixth.
Lotus also impressed with Romain Grosjean seventh and Pastor Maldonado eighth following their mechanical dramas on Friday.
Rookie Carlos Sainz jnr in the Toro Rosso continued his strong start in ninth, while Sauber’s Felipe Nasr rounded out the top 10.
McLaren strulggled for outright pace with Kevin Magnussen 16th and Jenson Button in 17th position.
Meanwhile, Manor F1 is yet to make a track appearance with both cars stranded in the garage.
Result: Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Practice 3
|9||Carlos Sainz jnr||Toro Rosso||1:29.869s||+2.002s||19|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:29.952s||+2.085s||16|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:30.741s||+2.874s||14|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:30.993s||+3.126s||17|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:31.185s||+3.318s||10|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:32.830s||+4.963s||6|