FASTEST IN MELBOURNE: Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets during third practice ahead of qualifying for the 2015 Australian GP. Image: AP / Rob Griffith
MELBOURNE, Australia - Lewis Hamilton set the fastest final practice time for Mercedes ahead of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday (March 14).
Daniel Ricciardo continued to have technical issues with his Red Bull.
Hamilton clocked a quickest lap of 1min27.867, opening a cavernous gap of nearly seven-tenths of a second over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
RED BULL ENGINE WOES
Nico Rosberg, who led Hamilton in both practice sessions on Friday (March 13), was third fastest, almost a second behind his British team mate.
Ricciardo was unable to take part in the second free practice session due to an engine problem and faced further issues a day later, rolling back to the garage after stopping just outside the exit to pits lane.
The Australian's best lap was 15th fastest.
Sauber were able to send two cars out in practice after former test driver Giedo van der Garde dropped his legal action against the team and refrained to claim his race seat at Albert Park.
MANOR MISSING IN ACTION
However, Marcus Ericsson had a spin after over-steering into a kerb to finish 12th fastest, while his team mate Felipe Nasr was 10th best.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth fastest respectively, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen sixth.
McLaren underscored their lack of preparation for the new season with Kevin Magnussen 16th quickest and his team mate Jenson Button a further spot behind.
Manor Marussia, recently reborn after being taken into administration, were unable to put their cars on the track for a third successive practice session.
2015 Australian GP at Albert Park
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min27.867
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min28.563
3 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.821
4 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min28.912
5 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 1min28.988
6 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min29.017
7 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min29.481
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 1min29.864
9 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 1min29.869
10 Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 1min29.934
11 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso 1min29.952
12 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 1min30.613
13 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min30.741
14 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 1min30.993
15 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 1min31.185
16 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1min31.391
17 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min31.666
18 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull - Renault 1min32.830
19 Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia N/A
20 Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia N/A
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Australian GP weekend!