Lewis Hamilton maintains dominance by going fastest in final practice for Australian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off on Friday by going fastest in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
The Briton topped the time charts in Friday’s practice sessions and put down a lap of one minute 22.292 seconds on Saturday to put his title challengers on alert.
Vettel put down a marker late in the session, putting on a fresh set of soft tyres and going 0.8 seconds faster than Hamilton, clocking one minute 22.556 seconds.
Lewis Hamilton ended Saturday’s final practice session quickest for Mercedes
The world champion will begin his title defence in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix
But the five-time champion gave Mercedes the advantage with a 0.264-second lead over the Ferrari driver.
Hamilton clocked the fastest first and third sectors, going 0.2 seconds quicker than Vettel in the first portion of the lap and 0.1 seconds quicker in the last.
Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc finished the session in third, 0.457 seconds off Hamilton, while the Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top five.
Valtteri Bottas set the seventh fastest time with one minute 23.422 seconds, behind the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, 1.075 seconds behind Hamilton.
Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was just over two tenths slower than his title rival at Albert Park
AUSTRALIAN GP FINAL PRACTICE
1 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:22.292
2 Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:22.556
3 Leclerc (Fra) Ferrari 1:22.749
4 Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:23.112
5 Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:23.334
6 Gasly (Fra) Red Bull 1:23.367
7 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:23.422
8 Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 1:23.442
9 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:23.481
10 Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:23.695
11 Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:23.737
12 Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 1:23.831
13 Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:24.049
14 Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:24.082
15 Albon (Tha) Toro Rosso 1:24.328
16 Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:24.345
17 Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 1:24.402
18 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:24.568
19 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:25.944
20 Kubica (Pol) Williams 1:26.589
As was the case in Friday’s practice sessions, the midfield was packed with less than a second splitting Magnussen and Alex Albon for Toro Rosso in 15th.
It was largely an incident-free session under the blue skies of Albert Park, though Robert Kubica clipped his Williams coming into the pit lane.
The Williams pairing of George Russell and Kubica were more than 3.5 seconds off the pace, the rookie Briton recording a fastest lap of one minute 25.944 seconds while the Pole, returning after eight years away from F1, was 0.6 seconds further behind.
Lando Norris, another Briton making his debut in Australia, finished the session in 18th, 2.276 seconds behind Hamilton.