F1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Melbourne

  • Track Length 5.3 km
  • Lap Record 1:24.125
  • Laps 58

Last Race

2014

  • 16/03/2014
  • 1st: Rosberg

Most wins

4

  • Michael Schumacher

Official Site

Rolex Australian Grand Prix website

Rolex Australian Grand Prix Links

Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice ahead of qualifying in Melbourne

Mercedes driver 1.3s faster than Button; Hamilton makes error; Vettel 12th fastest; Gearbox woe for Bottas; Lotus still struggling

By Mike Wise in Melbourne.   Last Updated: 15/03/14 11:16am

  • Share:
Nico Rosberg: P3 pacesetter

Nico Rosberg: P3 pacesetter

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice ahead of qualifying for the Australian GP as Mercedes once again showed their rivals a clean pair of heels in Melbourne.

The German lapped the 5.303km Albert Park track in a time of 1:29.375s to go almost 1.4s faster than second-placed Jenson Button. Rosberg's team-mate Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest and would have gone faster but for an error at Turn Nine on his qualifying practice run.

The pair ran one-two during Friday practice and were there again early in the session, with Rosberg's advantage over Button clearly suggesting the advantage Mercedes - whose drivers had both finished their programmes with ten minutes of the session still to run - hold over the field.

Behind Button came Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo next up behind Hamilton. However, Sebastian Vettel ended the session down in P12, with the World Champion sounding unhappy with the performance of his Renault-powered RB10.

Vettel at least managed to keep his frustration in check, unlike Romain Grosjean, who completed only two laps and described his recalcitrant Lotus E22 as "unbelievable". Team-mate Pastor Maldonado managed 15 laps but broke down on track at the end of the session.

Elsewhere, Force India pair Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were sixth and ninth fastest respectively, sandwiching Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari and the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen. Raikkonen, who appears less comfortable in the F14 T than his team-mate, was another who sounded frustrated with his progress.

Rosberg had the luxury of ending his session ten minutes early

One driver with good reason to feel that way was Valtteri Bottas, who completed just two laps in his Williams before suffering a gearbox failure. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, the team's technical boss Pat Symonds said they should be able to change it ahead of qualifying, although the Finn will pick up a five-place grid penalty.

Team-mate Felipe Massa was tenth fastest, with Toro Rosso pair Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne 11th and 13th respectively. At the back of the field, Caterham pair Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson completed valuable mileage after their difficulties on Friday, with the Swedish rookie almost 7s off the pace.

Although Pirelli have promised more durable compounds this season, drivers complained during the session about tyre wear on both the medium and soft compounds. Furthermore, a strong wind on Lakeside Drive caused a number of drivers besides Hamilton to run off track. Qualifying starts at 6am GMT.

  • Share:

Related

Australian GP 2014

Brundle: Turn up the volume

In his first column of 2014, Sky F1's Martin Brundle gives his take on the sights and sounds of the sport's new era.

Australian GP analysis

Delving into the detail after the fascinating opening race of the 2014 season in Melbourne.

Dennis' shoe gift to Magnussen

McLaren chief Ron Dennis has urged the precociously-talented Kevin Magnussen to keep his feet on the ground

Poll

Most Popular

Features

Malaysia track guide

Malaysia track guide

Take a trip around the Sepang circuit in the company of Sky Sports F1's Anthony Davidson.

Catch the F1 Show

Catch the F1 Show

Graeme Lowdon and Johnny Herbert join Natalie Pinkham and Ted Kravitz to reflect on the Australian GP.

F1 Midweek Report

F1 Midweek Report

Anna Woolhouse & guests discuss Ricciardo's exclusion and the sound of F1's new engines.