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Rosberg dominates Oz final practice

2014-03-15 07:02

MALKING HIS MARK: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg continued to maintain the team's dominance during the final practice session ahead of the 2014 Oz GP. Image: AFP

MELBOURNE, Australia - Nico Rosberg maintained Mercedes' dominance  with the fastest time in practice ahead of Saturday qualifying for the Formula One season opener in Australia.

The German dashed around Melbourne's Albert Park street circuit in a best lap of 1min29.375 seconds, 1.391sec ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button.


Rosberg's team mate Lewis Hamilton, who was fastest in Friday's practice, was fourth quickest (1min30.919), behind Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Hamilton and Rosberg have been tipped to fight it out in Sunday's race, given Mercedes' superior pre-season testing and adjustment to rule changes, which include a fuel limit.

Rosberg had an eventful session. At one stage he was seen throwing something out of his cockpit while driving and then reported to his team that his tyres were "finished".

Four-time World champion Sebastian Vettel struggled in his Red Bull with the 12th best lap time and complained that his car could not accelerate and he was unhappy with the Renault engine.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean's fraught weekend continued when he reported his Lotus Renault engine was misfiring, to which he added with exasperation "unbelievable".

In another fascinating exchange overheard on the team radio, Kimi Raikkonen told his Ferrari garage: "You have to be more precise in telling me the switches."

German Adrian Sutil also advised his Sauber team, "the car is all over the place," to which his engineer instructed "pit then".

The session finished with Pastor Maldonado's Lotus Renault car stopping on the track, forcing him to return to pit lane on foot.

Qualifying for grid positions in Sunday's race was scheduled for later Saturday with the possibility of rain.

Final practice times on Saturday for 2014 Australian GP

1. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1min 29.375sec
2. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes 1:30.766
3. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:30.876
4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:30.919
5. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing 1:30.970
6. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:30.978
7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:31.156
8. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes 1:31.251
9. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:31.665
10. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1:31.723
11. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:31.925
12. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing 1:32.255
13. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:32.417
14. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia 1:34.184
15. Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber 1:34.188
16. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham 1:34.413
17. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1:34.717
18. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus 1:34.754
19. Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham 1:36.159
20. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams
21. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber
22. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus

Second practice
First practice

Stay with Wheels24 for the first 2014 F1 race in Australia this weekend.

Read more on:    australia  |  melbourne  |  motorsport  |  racing  |  f1

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