Australian GP: Grosjean on top as rain hits FP3

Australian GP: Grosjean on top as rain hits FP3

16th Mar 2013 6:34 pm

Romain Grosjean jumps to the top at the rain hit track in Practice 3. Ferrari's Alonso and Massa rounded off the top three positions.

Romain Grosjean put Lotus on top of the times in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix as the rain hit the Albert Park circuit and Sebastian Vettel hit trouble.

Grosjean posted a best time of 1m26.929s right before the heavens opened and that kept the Frenchman ahead of his rivals until the end.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa were second and third ahead of Force India's Paul di Resta and Grosjean's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Red Bull driver Vettel finished down in 12th after stopping on track late in the session.

With rain threatening to hit the session early on, the majority of drivers began completing full laps right away, with Mark Webber the first frontrunner to set a time.

The Australian was quickly outpaced by several drivers as the threat of rain increased, Brazilian Massa setting a time of 1m27.407s to move to the top 10 minutes into the session on a very busy track.

Team-mate Alonso and then Lotus's Grosjean lowered the benchmark moments later, the Frenchman posting the first 1m26 just before the rain made its appearance with 43 minutes to go.

The heavy rainstorm put an end to all the action for several minutes.

With 25 minutes to go, Massa was the first man to brave the conditions in the Ferrari, shod with full wets. With the track still very wet but with no rain, all drivers except Vettel and Jenson Button ventured out in the following minutes.

Friday's pacesetter Vettel jumped onto the track with less than 15 minutes to go, the Red Bull driver the first man to use the intermediate tyres.

His run, however, did not last long as he stopped on track with 10 minutes to go with an apparent hydraulic problem. The German managed just nine laps.

Although there was no more rain, no driver put on slicks before the end of the session and therefore there were no improvements over the times set early on.

Despite the tricky conditions and some minor scares, the session was mostly trouble-free.

Pos  Driver                Team                   Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus Renault          1m26.929s            14
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m27.000s  + 0.071s   7
 3.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m27.241s  + 0.312s  10
 4.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m27.533s  + 0.604s   9
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m27.625s  + 0.696s  12
 6.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m27.849s  + 0.920s  19
 7.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m27.860s  + 0.931s  16
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m28.069s  + 1.140s  15
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari         1m28.253s  + 1.324s  18
10.  Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m28.253s  + 1.324s  20
11.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m28.486s  + 1.557s  13
12.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m29.808s  + 2.879s   9
13.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m30.073s  + 3.144s  16
14.  Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth      1m30.388s  + 3.459s  17
15.  Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault       1m30.598s  + 3.669s  20
16.  Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault       1m30.959s  + 4.030s  19
17.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m33.236s  + 6.307s   7
18.  Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes       1m33.527s  + 6.598s   8
19.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m39.232s  + 12.303s 13
20.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1m39.779s  + 12.850s 13
21.  Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth      1m42.872s  + 15.943s 13
22.  Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1m47.246s  + 20.317s  9

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