Grosjean quickest before rain disrupts final practice session in Melbourne.
Sat 16.03.13, 6:06AM
The final free practice session before Australian Grand Prix qualifying was a mixed affair with rain interrupting proceedings 16 minutes into the hour.
The session began in strong sunshine, but with heavy clouds gathering around Albert Park, drivers headed out as soon as the pitlane light turned green, Mark Webber being the first driver to set a time. That was soon eclipsed and times continued to fall until the rains came. At that point Romain Grosjean was quickest with a time of 1m26.929. Behind him were the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
The action on track finished as everyone returned to the garage to wait out the storm, and no-one returned to the track until 35 minutes into the session when, after the rain had ceased, Massa was the first to try out the blue-banded full wet tyre. He was joined on track by the majority of the field, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button being the exceptions – though the drying track presented the teams with a dilemma: with qualifying also expected to be wet, no-one wanted to be caught out and damage a rain tyre by running it in the wrong conditions.
When Vettel did appear on the Inter his run did not last long as he slowed and pulled off the circuit at Turn Four. That was the only drama in the closing stages. Some drivers had dry tyres ready for a final run but conditions didn’t improve quickly enough for anyone to try them. The timesheet from the session featured a 20s spread, the disparity caused by those who did and didn’t set times in the dry.