Australian GP, Practice Three: Sebastian Vettel fastest after heavy rain in Melbourne
Albert Park hit with deluge but conditions improving for Qualifying
Last Updated: 13/12/18 3:06pm
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was fastest in final practice for the Australian GP after heavy rain fell in Melbourne on Saturday morning.
Vettel was only one of three drivers to set a lap time on slick tyres as the Albert Park track finally dried out sufficiently in the final minutes.
The Ferrari driver topped the timesheets ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.
But the damp and wet conditions which characterised the session - and nearly caught out both Nico Hulkenberg and Max Verstappen as their cars slithered out of Turn Ten - are not expected to remain for the first qualifying hour of 2018.
Vettel's benchmark time of 1:26.067 was three seconds shy of the fastest time on Friday, set by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
There was further encouragement for McLaren with both Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso within two tenths of Mercedes duo Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the top of the charts on intermediate tyres before Vettel, Raikkonen and Ericsson jumped ahead on ultrasofts.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth quickest with the Red Bull driver's three-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently in red flag conditions during Friday practice continuing to dominate the off-track agenda.
"They could have given a reprimand, they could have given something [else]," a fuming Ricciardo told Sky Sports. "To give me a grid penalty before the season has started is ****house."
Hamilton suffered a brief glitch when the steering wheel on his W09 car failed while Williams' Lance Stroll had to sit out the opening half hour due to a gearbox problem.
The poor weekend weather which had been forecast all week arrived with a vengeance by the time teams and drivers started arriving in the Albert Park paddock on Saturday morning.
But conditions steadily improved throughout, resulting in a flurry of fastest laps during the closing exchanges.
Sky Sports F1's coverage of Qualifying begins at 5am with lights out for the start at 6am.