Hamilton sets pace in final Melbourne practice


Lewis Hamilton set the pace once again in Melbourne after topping the timesheets in third practice.

The reigning world champion was fastest in both Friday sessions and continued his blistering early-season form around a dry Albert Park on Saturday.

Hamilton posted a time of one minute, 25.624 seconds on supersoft tyres and was followed by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg (+0.176secs).

The majority of drivers went out on soft tyres but the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat decided to try the supersofts, setting the early pace. 

Hamilton and Rosberg swapped to the supersofts but both suffered heavy lock-ups, with the latter forced to run off the track at turn 13, before setting their flying laps late in the session.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel (+0.228secs) was not far off the pace of the Mercedes in third, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen (+0.811secs) finished in the top five.

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz (+0.633secs) and Max Verstappen (+1.077secs) were the surprise packets of the session, finishing in fourth and sixth respectively. 

The session also saw the first collision between two drivers in 2016, with new boy Rio Haryanto crashing his Manor into Romain Grosjean's Haas inside the pit lane. 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:25.624
2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:25.800
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:25.852
4. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) 1:26.257
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:26.435
6. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1:26.701
7. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:26.730
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:26:768
9. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:27.151
10. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:27.242