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2018 F1

Vettel top in rainy FP3 as Hamilton hits trouble at Australian GP

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Third and final free practice session got the F1 action underway in Melbourne this Saturday and Sebastian Vettel was fastest with a 1’26”067 ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who posted a 1’28”499.

Both Ferrari drivers ran Intermediate wet weather tyres for almost the entire hour, fitting the Ultra-softs only in the closing minutes when the track had dried.

Friday pace setter Lewis Hamilton, who topped the timesheets in both of Friday’s practice sessions in warm and dry conditions, was confined to the garage for half the session with an apparent steering wheel problem.

The Briton finally emerged to post the eighth fastest lap on intermediate tyres behind seventh placed team mate Valtteri Bottas.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was third quickest ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, both of whom were on slicks, but the times may have little bearing on qualifying (0600 GMT).

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.

The lakeside circuit is likely to dry out further and encourage teams to push for quick times on the slick tyres. (Reuters/AP)

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