Ferrari close the gap on Hamilton as qualifying approaches

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the third successive practice session at the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 on Saturday despite Ferrari edging closer to the five-time world champion.

The Ferrari cars of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were second and third quickest respectively, an encouraging sign ahead of Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session and Sunday’s main race.

Both Ferraris were well off the pace in Friday’s free practice in Melbourne but put in a showing that suggests it will not be a cakewalk for Hamilton in the season opener.

Hamilton produced a best lap time of 1:22.292, three-tenths faster than his quickest time on Friday afternoon.

Vettel’s best time was 1:22.556, while Leclerc’s quickest effort around the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit was 1:22.749.

Haas teammates Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen also impressed, producing the fourth and fifth quickest laps respectively.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was seventh fastest.

Local hero Daniel Ricciardo scraped inside the top 10 after finishing 14 laps with a fastest time of 1:23.695.

Ricciardo edged out Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who finished 11th, while Williams driver Robert Kubica was slowest.

The Pole, returning to Formula 1® after eight seasons absent due to injury, scraped the wall on the approach into the Pit Lane midway through the session, leaving debris behind.

Attention now turns to qualifying, with Vettel and Leclerc hoping they can put even more pressure on Hamilton.

Limited tickets are still available for the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019. The event runs from 14-17 March at Melbourne’s iconic Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit.

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