Hamilton continues his dominance in Australia

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes again the duo to beat in 2019
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes again the duo to beat in 2019

Lewis Hamilton has plenty in hand when needed and when Sebastian Vettel went fastest in the final practice for the Australian GP, Lewis Hamilton simply went out and buried him in the superior Mercedes.

After dominating Friday practice by 8/10ths over the next-fastest team, Hamilton continued to stick it to his rivals in the third session on Saturday morning.

He went to the top of the times on his first flying lap and went straight back to the top when he got knocked down.

First it was Valtteri Bottas and then Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel did it on new soft tires to go quickest.

For a minute or two.

Hamilton's second run on new softs yielded a 1m22.292s, enough to beat Vettel by 0.264s.

Charles Leclerc went third-fastest, 0.457s, but the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes appears to again have its rivals where they want them heading into qualifying.

Behind Hamilton and the two Ferraris, just as they did last year in Melbourne Haas came from nowhere to dominate the midfield battle, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finishing fourth and fifth, ahead of both Red Bulls and the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who had a scrappy session, twice getting on the grass at Albert Park’s penultimate Turn 15.

Meanwhile, Daniil Kvyat continued to demonstrate the latent pace in the Toro Rosso STR14, going P8 behind Pierre Gasly and Bottas, and ahead of Max Verstappen, the man who replaced him at Red Bull in 2016.

Williams’ lap times haven’t made for happy reading so far this weekend. And Robert Kubica added to the team’s woes by clattering the pit-lane entry wall mid-way through the session and appearing to take some bodywork off the FW42. Kubica ended the session in P20, one place behind team mate George Russell, the team's best lap some 3.6s off the ultimate pace.

Practice 3 Results

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.292 +0.000s 12
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.556 +0.264s 12
3 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:22.749 +0.457s 12
4 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:23.112 +0.820s 17
5 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:23.334 +1.042s 15
6 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 1:23.367 +1.075s 17
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:23.422 +1.130s 17
8 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:23.442 +1.150s 16
9 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:23.481 +1.189s 19
10 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:23.695 +1.403s 14
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:23.737 +1.445s 15
12 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:23.831 +1.539s 16
13 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Renault 1:24.049 +1.757s 21
14 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point 264 Mercedes 1:24.082 +1.790s 18
15 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:24.328 +2.036s 15
16 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 264 Mercedes 1:24.345 +2.053s 16
17 7 Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:24.402 +2.110s 18
18 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:24.568 +2.276s 16
19 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:25.944 +3.652s 14
20 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:26.589 +4.297s 16

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