Nico Rosberg tops third practice at Melbourne, making it three out of three

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    Nico Rosberg tops third practice at Melbourne, making it three out of three

    Post by Ross on 28th March 2009, 01:37

    Rosberg makes it 3 out of 3 in practice

    Nico Rosberg proved Williams could be a real threat at front of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix by completing a clean sweep of the fastest practice times on Saturday morning.

    Having dominated the first day of the 2009 season on Friday, Rosberg claimed the top position in the final practice session by the narrowest of margins from Toyota’s Jarno Trulli after the Brawn GP cars had led the way for much of the session.

    Rosberg’s best time of 1m25.808s was just over 0.2s faster than the German managed on Friday, with Trulli just 0.003s behind as he showed the potential of the impressive TF109 for the first time this weekend.

    For much of the session it had looked as though pre-race favourite Brawn – running with Virgin logos for the first time following Saturday morning’s announcement – would top an official practice timesheet for the first time on its debut.

    But although Jenson Button ultimately fell 0.173s short, the BGP 001 looks strong for qualifying with team-mate Rubens Barrichello ending up sixth.

    Again it was the ‘diffuser gang’ of three teams that featured predominantly at the top of the timing charts, with only Felipe Massa breaking their stranglehold of the first six positions in fourth for Ferrari.

    The Brazilian ended the session just 0.2s off the ultimate pace after the Scuderia had shown inconclusive speed on Friday.

    Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, however, endured a nightmare session and goes into qualifying with reliability concerns over his car after he pulled up on the grass after just five laps following a loss of hydraulic pressure.

    Ferrari’s perennial rival McLaren, meanwhile, showed slightly improved speed on Saturday morning with Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton winding up 11th and 12th respectively.

    Following a quiet opening 20 minutes to the session, Button set the hour’s first representative time before Renault’s Fernando Alonso moved past him with a lap in the 1m27.7s bracket.

    However, it wasn’t long before Friday’s form teams – the Williams and Brawn cars – moved to the head of the times with Kazuki Nakajima lapping Albert Park in 1m27.762s before Barrichello shaved a further four hundredths of a second off that time.

    Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel then took two turns at lowering the benchmark, beating his initial 1m27.284s effort by almost three tenths of a second.

    The Brawn GP cars quickly responded by taking the fastest times well below the 1m27s mark, with Button’s 1m26.571s initially beating team-mate Barrichello by 0.1s.

    The veteran Brazilian, however, then went 0.2s faster to seize the fastest time before the field switched to the softer slick rubber for the final phase of the session.

    Toyota’s Glock first set the benchmark on those tyres, before the two Brawn cars retaliated again going into the final minutes of the session.

    Finally, Trulli seemed set to finish on top of the pile after posting his best effort of 1m25.811s before Rosberg maintained Williams’s impressive form by pipping the Toyota to the top spot.

    While the three teams running the controversial diffusers continued to dominate the top of the timesheets, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, like Massa, got among then to follow on from his impressive Friday form.

    The Australian ended up ahead of Glock in seventh, while BMW continued to keep below the radar to make up the top 10.

    Adrian Sutil again showed promising speed in the Mercedes-powered Force India in 14th, while the Toro Rosso pair both moved up the order after a tough opening day.

    Renault, however endured a difficult morning as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr finished 17th and 19th respectively.

    Again the session was without major incidents, but Sebastian Vettel was one of several drivers to take a trip across the grass and soon afterwards reported over the radio that something had broken on his RB5.

    Australian GP free practice session three times

    1. ROSBERG Williams 1m25.808s
    2. TRULLI Toyota 1m25.811s
    3. BUTTON Honda 1m25.981s
    4. MASSA Ferrari 1m26.020s
    5. NAKAJIMA Williams 1m26.078s
    6. BARRICHELLO Honda 1m26.348s
    7. WEBBER Red Bull 1m26.355s
    8. GLOCK Toyota 1m26.410s
    9. KUBICA BMW 1m26.514s
    10. HEIDFELD BMW 1m26.555s
    11. KOVALAINEN McLaren 1m26.652s
    12. HAMILTON McLaren 1m26.714s
    13. VETTEL Red Bull 1m27.009s
    14. SUTIL Force India 1m27.062s
    15. BOURDAIS Toro Rosso 1m27.152s
    16. BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m27.192s
    17. ALONSO Renault 1m27.357s
    18. FISICHELLA Force India 1m27.492s
    19. PIQUET Renault 1m27.739s
    20. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1m28.801s


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