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2011 Australian Grand Prix (Rd 1, Free Practice 3)

March 26, 2011

The Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

Free Practice 3
On another cool and overcast day at Melbourne, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel topped the third practice session.

The reigning World Champion set a quickest lap of 1:24.507, some eight-tenths faster than teammate Mark Webber.
It was a stunning display by Vettel, who was quickest in every single sector as he laid down his marker for the weekend.

The McLaren pair of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button lined up 3rd and 4th respectively, albeit one second off of Vettel’s pace, although Button spent the early part of the practice struggling with brake issues.
Renault’s Vitaly Petrov finished 5th and Fernando Alonso 6th in his Ferrari; both had several tenths advantage over Kamui Kobayashi (7th, Sauber) and Nico Rosberg (8th, Mercedes), while Nick Heidfeld (Renault) and Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) rounded out the top-ten.

The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa had a problematic session in a car the Brazilian appears to find difficult. Nearing the end of the session, the camera casing from Massa’s car flew off, while his qualifying simulation was ruined by a painfully slow Narain Karthikeyan – all of which left Massa 2.5 seconds off of Vettel’s ultimate pace.
Williams also had a third practice to forget. Rubens Barrichello’s (16th) session ended early thanks to gearbox oil leak, but not before rookie teammate Pastor Maldonado beached his FW33 into the gravel trap at the turn 6/7 chicane.

At Virgin, an error from a Cosworth engineer necessitated an engine change in Timo Glock’s car – the German driver completed the session in 20th, four-tenths ahead of new teammate Jerome d’Ambrosio.
Meanwhile, the struggling Hispania squad had another poor day with Vitantonio Liuzzi’s F111 stopping after four corners due to an electrical fault. Narain Karthikeyan did eventually set a timed lap in the second Hispania, albeit 17.047 seconds off the pace.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault      1m24.507s            15
 2.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m25.364s  +  0.857  14
 3.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.553s  +  1.046  15
 4.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.567s  +  1.060  16
 5.  Petrov         Renault               1m25.906s  +  1.399  18
 6.  Alonso         Ferrari               1m26.121s  +  1.614  16
 7.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari        1m26.417s  +  1.910  17
 8.  Rosberg        Mercedes              1m26.520s  +  2.013  17
 9.  Heidfeld       Renault               1m26.746s  +  2.239  17
10.  Schumacher     Mercedes              1m26.856s  +  2.349  15
11.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m27.008s  +  2.501  17
12.  Massa          Ferrari               1m27.011s  +  2.504  15
13.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m27.066s  +  2.559  14
14.  di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m27.087s  +  2.580  15
15.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1m27.180s  +  2.673  15
16.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1m28.068s  +  3.561   7
17.  Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m28.077s  +  3.570   9
18.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1m29.772s  +  5.265  17
19.  Trulli         Lotus-Renault         1m30.003s  +  5.496  18
20.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m30.261s  +  5.754  15
21.  Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1m30.496s  +  5.989   5
22.  D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1m30.704s  +  6.197  18
23.  Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m41.554s  + 17.047   5
24.  Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth          No time               1
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