The strange timetable at this race means that we had the unusual experience of running the final free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix in the afternoon with a 2pm start.
Sunny skies and warm weather have returned to Melbourne and the grandstands are packed, partly down to the attraction of having two Australian drivers on the grid of their home race; a first in the history of Formula 1. We don’t need to tell you who those two drivers are do we?
At the end of the hour, in which both drivers were able to evaluate the difference between the Medium and Soft Pirelli tyres, Daniel Ricciardo posted the tenth fastest time in 1.26.723, completing 17 laps, while Jean-Eric Vergne was only one hundredth of a second slower (1.26.733) doing 11 laps and finishing in eleventh place.
Lewis Hamilton was quickest for McLaren, followed by Romain Grosjean in the Lotus with Mark Webber third for Red Bull Racing. Jenson Button was fourth in the other McLaren, followed by the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Finally, it’s time for qualifying, the session where everyone expects to get a clearer picture of the real pecking order down pit lane, after the uncertainty of winter testing and this week’s free practice.