HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014
Rain, mechanical failure disrupt F1 Australian Grand Prix third practice
Melbourne, March 16, 2013
First Published: 10:14 IST(16/3/2013)
Last Updated: 10:22 IST(16/3/2013)

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean topped the times in third practice for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday after a rain storm descended on the circuit 20 minutes into the session.

The Frenchman's best lap of one minute 26.929 enabled him to leapfrog the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso (1.27.000) and Felipe Massa (1.27.241) into top spot.

The dark storm clouds then swept across Albert Park and for 20 minutes, high winds and heavy rain kept the drivers off the track and no one was able to better Grosjean's time when the cars returned on wet weather tyres.

World champion Sebastian Vettel, who dominated both practice sessions for Red Bull in dry conditions on Friday, was only able to set the 12th best time and pulled off the track after the rain with a hydraulics problem.

Mark Webber, still seeking his first win at his home race at his 12th attempt, was just behind his German team mate in 13th, although he was one of the quickest drivers on the wet track.

Grosjean also set the pace after the rain ahead of his team mate Kimi Raikkonen and the Saubers of Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez, who managed 20 laps despite the weather.

McLaren's Jenson Button complained over the team radio about understeer in his brief four-lap stint in the dry, indicating that the problems with his car exposed on Friday had not been resolved overnight.

Button, winner of the Melbourne race in three of the last four years and the final race of last season, was a whopping 2.4 seconds off the pace set by Vettel in second practice and he set the 17th quickest time in the third session.

His fellow Briton Paul Di Resta was fourth quickest on the timesheets ahead of Grosjean's team mate Kimi Raikkonen with Australian Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo sixth fastest before the rain descended.

Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton failed to really get their sessions going and finished 11th and 22nd fastest respectively.

Vettel, embarking on his campaign to win a fourth straight world title this season, was hot favourite to claim pole position in qualifying for Sunday's race later on Saturday.

comment Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of
blog comments powered by Disqus

F1 car vrooms on Rajpath
more »

In the know
Every racer's first step

In this week's column, I thought I would look at the most basic form of motorsport  - Go-Karting. When I was 6 year's old, my parents gave me a small cadet kart as a birthday present. Karun Chandhok writes.

In The Know
One for the road...

As I write on board the flight to Singapore for the Grand Prix, I thought it's a good time to go slightly off track with this week's column and talk about the travel in F1! Karun Chandhok writes. Going the distance
more »

Never thought I'd race in an Indian GP, says Narain

Narain Karthikeyan
"Since the day I started racing, I dreamt of being in the Formula One," said Narain Karthikeyan. "But never in my wildest dream did I think of racing in an Indian GP." That's how the country's first F1 racer wants to sum up his excitement about the upcoming event next month. "It's going to be the most special thing in my life," he added.

Formula One driver regimen

It’s not all glamour for the Formula One drivers who endure demanding conditions while in the cockpit. They’re subjected to incredible wear-and-tear. HT reveals their fitness regimens.

more »
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved