Watch Saturday’s qualifying live on Sky Sports F1; Build-up from Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit starts at 6am before shootout begins at 7am
Last Updated: 09/04/22 6:53am
Lando Norris topped the timesheets for McLaren in a surprise Australian GP final practice result before Saturday’s qualifying, while Aston Martin’s weekend took a turn for the worse with crashes for both their drivers.
McLaren, after a disappointing start to the season plagued by brake issues, have been much more competitive in Melbourne this weekend and Norris highlighted their speed with some notable pace in Practice Three.
The young Englishman set the pace with a 1:19.177, a tenth of a second ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso in the Alpine, another usual midfield team who have looked quick.
Max Verstappen struggled for balance and was only seventh, although didn’t post a lap on the soft tyres as he finished behind the other McLaren and ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the lead Mercedes, who are still off the pace.
The mixed-up pecking order beautifully sets up an unpredictable qualifying, which is live on Sky Sports F1 at 7am.
“It’s pretty special to know McLaren can do that,” said Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta. “I hope there are four teams in the fight for pole.”
One team who go into that shootout with plenty of issues are Aston Martin.
Their weekend had already been heavily disrupted thanks to Sebastian Vettel’s engine issue in first practice, which sidelined him for the second session, and the German also didn’t get a lap time in P3 before a crash at the high-speed chicane, which ended his morning and brought out red flags.
The session was then halted by Aston enforced red flags again in the closing stages, with Lance Stroll the next to go off.
Stroll finished 19th and bottomof the timesheets.
Elsewhere, George Russell was 11th for Mercedes while Haas have dropped off the pace compared to the opening double header, with both drivers again out of the top-10.