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McLaren gets it right again

2012-03-17 06:33

SIGN OF THE TIME: Paul di Resta of Britain powers his Force India Mercedes out of pits during practice for the 2012 Australian F1 GP. Image: AFP

MELBOURNE, Australia - McLaren was the big scorer in third practice for the 2012 Melbourne F1 GP on Saturday morning with Lewis Hamilton fastest of the pack.

His best lap was 1min25.681 while team mate Jenson Button was fourth and 0.225sec slower - which perhaps shows that Hamilton has much more to give in full qualifyng but puts the British team back on top for now - as it was after the first practice session on Friday.


Third was Mark Webber (Red Bull), 0.219sec back from Hamilton, but his team mate Sebastian Vettel went off into the gravel a few minutes before the session ended after clocking a best lap 0.530sec off the top pace.

Fellow German Michael Schumacher also lost it and bogged down in gravel two minutes from the end but stayed with the leaders in sixth position at +0.397sec.

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was perhaps the surprise of the session, managing to slot in right behind Hamilton at +0.077sec.

Hamilton found his best lap late in the one-hour session to knock Frenchman Grosjean off the top of the time sheets.

Grosjean, partnered by returning former champion Kimi Raikonnen at the former Renault team, was quick enough to hold off Australian Mark Webber (Red Bull).

Hamilton's team mate and fellow Briton Jenson Button, who won back-to-back in Melbourne in 2009 and 2010, was fourth quickest with German Nico Rosberg  fifth.


Rain affected both practice sessions on Friday so this was the first chance for the cars to really test their dry set-ups and it was the Mercedes of Rosberg and Michael Schumacher who set the early pace.

Ferrari's problems continued in an uncompetitive session where double champion Fernando Alonso and team mate Felipe Massa finished 16th and 18th.

HRT drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan look unlikely to qualify for the race with best laps around 7.5sec off the lead, well outside the 107% required to hit the grid. - Wheels24 and Reuters

Third free practice times from the 2012 Australian F1 GP at Albert Park in Melbourne
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min25.681
2 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus +0.077
3 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull +0.219
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren +0.225
5 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +0.248
6 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +0.397
7 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull +0.530
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams +0.789
9 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber +0.951
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso +1.042
11Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso +1.052
12 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus +1.056
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +1.074
14 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India +1.348
15 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1.438
16 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +1.642
17 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India +1.747
18 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +2.342
19 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +2.660
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham +3.021
21 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +5.047
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia +5.544
23 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT +7.433
24 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT +7.580

Stay with Wheels24 for the Formula 1 weekend.

Second free practice times
1 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min29.183
2 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min29.292
3 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min30.199
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min30.341
5 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Ferrari 1min30.709
6 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min31.466
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min31.505
8 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min31.932
9 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min32.184
10 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull1min32.194
11 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min32.296
12 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min32.632
13 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min32.767
14 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min32.822
15 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min33.039
16 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min33.252
17 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min34.108
18 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min34.275
19 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min34.312
20 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min34.485
21 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min34.604
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min34.770
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 1min42.627
24 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT N/A

First free practice times
1 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min27.560
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min27.805
3 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.235
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min28.360
5 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min28.467
6 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.683
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min28.908
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min29.415
9 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min29.565
10 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min29.722
11 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min29.790
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min29.865
13 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min29.881
14 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min29.953
15 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min30.124
16 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min30.515
17 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min30.586
18 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min30.743
19 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min31.178
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min31.983
21 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min34.730
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min40.256
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT
24 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT


Inside Wheels24

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