Final practice - Grosjean quickest at rain-hit Melbourne 16 Mar 2013
The weather did its best to disrupt the third and final free practice session for the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park on Saturday.
After rain earlier in the day, the track was dry as Romain Grosjean pushed his way to the fastest time of 1m 26.929s for Lotus, ahead of the duelling Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on 1m 27.000s and 1m 27.241s. Paul di Resta was much happier with his Force India and took fourth with 1m 27.533s ahead of Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 27.625s and the Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 27.849s and 1m 27.860s.
It was all dependent on when you ran, however, as the rain arrived with 44 minutes left. Initially there was enough rain to warrant Pirellis blue-walled wet tyres, but later some were able to venture out on the green-walled intermediates.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren drivers, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, were among those who hadnt posted a time before the conditions deteriorated, so they were left well down the order.
The final list of times placed Adrian Sutil eighth for Force India on 1m 28.069s from Sauber duo Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez, both on 1m 28.253s, Mercedes Nico Rosberg on 1m 28.486s, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on 1m 29.808s and 1m 30.073s, Marussias Jules Bianchi on 1m 30.388s, Caterhams Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic on 1m 30.598s and 1m 30.959s, then Button and Perez on 1m 33.236s and 1m 33.527s.
Williams' pair Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas lapped in 1m 39.232s and 1m 39.779s respectively, ahead of Marussias Max Chilton on 1m 42.872s and Hamilton on 1m 47.246s. The 2008 world champion had been on his out lap when the rain struck.
The inconclusive session gave teams the chance to hone their wet set-ups, which they are likely to need at times in qualifying. But it was frustrating for everyone. Worst hit of all was Vettel, who was instructed to stop his Red Bull out on the track after signs of imminent hydraulic failure.
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