“Australian GP: Vettel raises Ferrari’s hand”

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the fastest time in this morning’s final free practice for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne.

In a slightly shortened session, Vettel’s best of 1:23.380 was enough to head Mercedes pairing of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton by almost half-a-second, mirroring the Mercedes advantage from Friday.

Kimi Raikkonen made it a Ferrari-Mercedes lockout in the top four places again, with Nico Hulkenberg following in 5th place, some 1.68s down on Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo set the 6th fastest time on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres in his Renault-powered Red Bull.

Romain Grosjean made it 7th in the Haas-Ferrari, despite issues with the front left, while Carlos Sainz headed the Toro Rosso duo. Kevin Magnussen made it two Haas machines in the top ten with a 1:26.138s.

Surprise debutante Antonio Giovinazzi took the final spot on the timesheets, but concentrated on recording laps in the Sauber C36 as he bedded himself in following his late promotion to the race seat in place of the unfit Pascal Wehrlein.

The session finished early when Lance Stroll crashed on the back straight. The Canadian damaged the rear end of his Williams F40, necessitating a gearbox change and the five-place grid penalty that goes with it.

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