FP3: Norris leads Leclerc as both Aston Martins crash in final Australian GP practice session
Lando Norris set the fastest lap for McLaren ahead of Ferrari's Chares Leclerc in the final practice session of the Australian Grand Prix. Numerous drivers went off-track in difficult conditions – both Aston Martin drivers crashing out in separate incidents.
Albert Park hosted FP3 on Saturday afternoon with another change to its layout, as the four DRS zones had been cut to three for 'safety reasons'. Most drivers ran this session on the softest (C5) compounds – though grip was clearly at a premium early on...
READ MORE: 5 things we learned from Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix
The session was interrupted when, after 20 minutes, FP2 absentee Sebastian Vettel (who was also fined €5,000 for taking a scooter on track after his car stopped in FP1) hit the wall exiting Turn 10 and brought out a red flag that was retracted with just under 30 minutes remaining.
Max Verstappen (P7) then spun at Turn 13, undoing a swift medium-tyred lap – but times would soon tumble, and ultimately it Norris who posted the fastest lap of 1m 19.117s – FP2 leader Charles Leclerc 0.132s off the pace. Norris was however told to slow down late on with a suspected power unit issue.
Sergio Perez was 0.016s behind Ferrari's championship leader, the Red Bull driver followed by a rapid Fernando Alonso of Alpine in P4.
Lance Stroll's late crash at Turn 11 brought out the second red flag of the session and ended FP3 with a few minutes remaining, another Aston Martin out prematurely.
FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2022
Practice 3 results
|1 Lando Norris NOR McLaren||1:19.117|
|2 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.132s|
|3 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing||+0.148s|
|4 Fernando Alonso ALO Alpine||+0.158s|
|5 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||+0.302s|
Carlos Sainz rounded out the top five, 0.302s off former team mate Norris, while McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo put in a flyer for P6 late on – leaving Verstappen seventh. The Dutchman backed out of a late flying effort in frustration after losing the rear at Turn 1 – but showed promising medium-tyred pace.
Just before Vettel's crash, Lewis Hamilton (P8) had tapped the wall but escaped at Turn 11, while George Russell (P11) seemed to struggle as well with a trip through the Turn 3 gravel after the red flag.
Between the Mercedes was alumnus Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo, in P9, and 10th-placed Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri.
Tsunoda's team mate Pierre Gasly was half a tenth back in P12, Alpine's Esteban Ocon a whisker behind in P13.
Mick Schumacher – who stopped to check on Vettel when the four-time champion crashed – set a late flying lap to end up 14th for Haas, ahead of Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Guanyu in P15.
Williams took 16th through Alex Albon, and 18th thanks to Nicholas Latifi – with Haas's Kevin Magnussen 17th between them.
That left Aston Martin last on the board in a tricky showing, Stroll 19th before crashing out, and Vettel 20th without a representative time on the board.
Qualifying follows at 1600 local time, after a very intriguing FP3 session. Who has the advantage at Albert Park?
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