Thirty degrees of Aussie sunshine welcomed the teams and drivers to session 3/100 in the 2015 Formula 1 season, and Valtteri Bottas was first out on track.
Daniil Kvyat reported problems with his Renault engine on his out lap, and his concerns manifested in an off-track excursion at the second-to-last corner. Coupled with Daniel Ricciardo’s woes from Friday morning, where he lost one of his four engines for the rest of the season, and it signaled a tough weekend for the team.
Ricciardo had sat out FP2 while the team had a look to see if his Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) could be repaired after it suffered damage in the very first session of the year. This means that the Australian now has just three engines available for the rest of the year, and will do well not to suffer any penalties for replacements.
Things got even worse for last year’s triple Grand Prix winner, as his Red Bull ground to a halt at the end of the pit lane. Australian Marshals ran out to push the stricken Red Bull back towards the pit lane, where it was hurried on by his team.
Marcus Ericsson had an almighty spin with 20 minutes to go. The Swede lost the rear of the car on the exit of the super fast Turn 12, but was able to keep his car out of the wall, at the cost of his tyres, which were badly flat-spotted.
The team could take solace from the fact that the legal disputes between themselves and ex-driver-maybe-future-driver Giedo van der Garde have ended, for this weekend at least – the Dutchman is no longer pursuing a drive for this weekend
Qualifying simulations were the order of the day for the final ten minutes or so, and saw Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of 1.27.867 on the Medium tyre.
Still nothing to speak of from Manor; their software glitches continued to hamper progress.
Times from Practice 3
1) Hamiton, Mercedes, 1.27.867 (11 Laps)
2) Vettel, Ferrari, 1.28.563 (13 Laps)
3) Rosberg, Mercedes, 1.28.821 (14 Laps)
4) Bottas, Williams, 1.28.912 (14 Laps)
5) Massa, Williams, 1.28.988 (18 Laps)
6) Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1.29.017 (13 Laps)
7) Grosjean, Lotus, 1.29.481 (12 Laps)
8) Maldonado, Lotus, 1.29.864 (15 Laps)
9) Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1.29.869 (19 Laps)
10) Nasr, Sauber, 1.29.934 (24 Laps)
11) Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1.29.952 (16 Laps)
12) Ericsson, Sauber, 1.30.613 (21 Laps)
13) Hulkenberg, Force India, 1.30.741 (14 Laps)
14) Perez, Force India, 1.30.993 (17 Laps)
15) Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1.31.185 (10 Laps)
16) Magnussen, McLaren, 1.31.391 (14 Laps)
17) Button, McLaren, 1.31.666 (13 Laps)
18) Kvyat, Red Bull, 1.32.830 (6 Laps)