Grosjean Tops Wet Third Practice

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Romain Grosjean topped the final practice session after a rain period gave the teams a great run ahead of what is expected to be a wet qualifying session.

Only the opening 10 minutes were dry and Grosjean showed off the pace of the Lotus without getting a full understanding of the dry tyres ahead of the race tomorrow afternoon. As the rain commenced, few drivers ventured out on track, but eventually they took the time to get a better understanding of the wet Pirelli compounds.

The Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were second and third respectively, with Paul di Resta managing to finish the session in fourth place. Kimi Raikkonen backed up the pace of the Lotus by once again finishing in the top five, while the Toro Rosso’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne cracked the top ten for the first time this weekend in sixth and seventh.

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Adrian Sutil remained consistent by finishing in the top ten again in eighth for Force India, with Sauber also showing some pace with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez rounding out the top ten.

Mercedes didn’t show their true pace with Nico Rosberg in 11th and Lewis Hamilton last after only setting nine timed laps. Sebastian Vettel was 12th after topping both sessions yesterday, but suffered a hydraulics failure that left him stranded out on track. Red Bull will be kept busy in the two hours before qualifying starts, with local hope Mark Webber finishing in 13th.

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It was a good session for Marussia and Caterham, with Jules Bianchi once again being the fastest out of the two bottom teams in 14th place. The Frenchman has showed impressive experience around Albert Park for a rookie. Giedo van der Garde finally found a way off the bottom of the time sheets in 15th ahead of his team-mate Charles Pic. Max Chilton in the other Marussia was 21st.

McLaren once again struggled and weren’t able to sort out the issues that hampered them yesterday in the dry. Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were 17th and 18th, and will be hoping the rain sticks around for the rest of the weekend to give them any hope at a podium, let alone a victory. The Williams also seem to be off the pace, with Pastor Maldonado ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

With rain looming around Albert Park for Qualifying, it looks to be an interesting session this afternoon to sort the grid out for the first race of 2013.

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(Images copyright Sutton & Getty Images)

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