Lewis Hamilton responded to the pace shown by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP1 and FP2 by topping the final practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, giving him an edge heading into qualifying later today.
The British driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:27.867 to finish six-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the top of the timesheets, with Rosberg finishing down in third place for Mercedes.
Mercedes once again proved in FP3 that it has lost none of its advantage from 2014, with Hamilton easing into first place on the soft compound tire in the final 10 minutes of the session. Although Rosberg did finish behind Vettel, it is likely that the Silver Arrows will be scrapping for pole position later today at Albert Park.
A number of teams did not enjoy such a good session, though. Red Bull had yet more problems with its Renault engine as Daniil Kvyat was forced to park up early on, leaving him at the bottom of the timesheets come the end of the session.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson suffered a spin heading out of the chicane on the back straight, but managed to avoid the wall, whilst Max Verstappen continued to wrangle with his Toro Rosso car.
Heading into qualifying, Mercedes remains the team to beat, but the battle for second will be very close indeed. Ferrari and Williams filled out the remaining positions in the top six, suggesting that Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will be the men vying for a top three qualifying position later today.
You can watch qualifying live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2a ET today.
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto