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Australia 2011 - Free Practice 3 highlights - Follow the action from Albert Park as it unfolded lap by lap

Published by Christine

Liuzzi finds some track time
Liuzzi finds some track timeCredit: Hispania Racing

With just an hour of practice ahead of qualifying, everyone was keen to get work this morning. Conditions were overcast but dry, and it wasn't long before Red Bull showed what they are really made of.

That being said, the story of the morning was about those cars struggling. More than your fair share of drivers ended up off track and being rescued by marshals, including one of the HRT cars. The team managed to get both of their cars out, one failed and one crawled, but it was a step forward.

Relive every moment with this Factbyte Factbox minute by minute replay.

As it happened: 2011 Australia - Free Practice 3

  • 02:30

    Hello and good morning, are you up and about and awake?

  • 02:30

    It's half past 2am in the UK, but we are here for the next 90 minutes, covering all the goings on from Free Practice 3.

  • 02:32

    This is the last chance for drivers and teams to work out the setups required ahead of qualifying.

  • 02:35

    We've seen Mark Webber and Jenson Button taking top honours so far this weekend, but it could be anyone's.

  • 02:35

    If you're following along at home, why not join in the Sidepodcast comments?

  • 02:36

    Or try out the dashboard for an overview of comments, Twitter, and this here Factbyte Factbox.

  • 02:37

    There's a poll in that Free Practice thread: Vote whether you believe HRT will manage to get some running done in the coming session.

  • 02:40

    Other handy bits and bobs, live timing: and Autosport's live text: (coming soon).

  • 02:44

    On the subject of HRT, team principal Colin Kolles spoke yesterday with positivity for today despite the fact the team only got one installation lap out of one car during both sessions: Tomorrow we can have a normal day, with both cars running on the track. Tomorrow will be another day of hard work and hopefully more progress.

  • 02:45

    QuoteComment from habibif1: two HRTs this session, though one of them will stop on track for sure

  • 02:46

    TweetTweet from @A_Rifky: I think HRT just make one installation lap like yesterday @sidepodcast

  • 02:49

    Don't forget the tyre compounds this weekend are hards and softs, which are silver and yellow tyre walls respectively.

  • 02:49

    TweetTweet from @fergieweather: Despite cloudy skies, radar showing largely dry conditions across Melbourne ahead of FP3; a few spots of light rain elsewhere in Victoria.

  • 02:51

    Ten minutes to go until FP3 gets underway, and then we have 60 minutes of practice.

  • 02:53

    Another of the not-so-new teams is struggling, as there are concerns that Virgin Racing will slip outside the 107% rule.

  • 02:54

    Timo Glock admitted that he was disappointed with their performance so far, and post-practice said: "I think that we just didn't develop strongly enough over the winter and the others made a bigger step. The top guys show their cards and that's the reason why we are so far behind."

  • 02:55

    The practice stream has begun.

  • 02:55

    For BBC users online, the stream should appear:

  • 02:56



    Wind speed5.2mps
  • 03:00

    The fans are out in force, looking a little chilly but happy as usual.

  • 03:00

    Green flagSession started.

  • 03:00

    Heikki Kovalainen heads out of the pitlane first, but a stream of cars follow along behind.

  • 03:02

    Both Buemi and Alguersuari were fined for speeding in the pitlane yesterday - Jaime a little bit more for going a little bit faster.

  • 03:02

    Karthikeyan has his race suit on today. This is progress.

  • 03:03

    So far, installations from all bar Webber, Rosberg and of course the two HRT drivers.

  • 03:04

    TweetTweet from @MarussiaVirgin: We have a lot of work planned today. Very keen to get out and both drivers on track

  • 03:06

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: Both cars back in ok, already a better day

  • 03:06

    Reports from HRT that Liuzzi's car is ready and Karthikeyan's is almost there.

  • 03:07

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: No problem on the cars. Now, as usual in FP3, we will wait some time before going out again and run.

  • 03:08

    Interview with Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren: "I think we've got two very experienced racing drivers in the team, and the simulation has worked well. The correlation between what the drivers were feeling in the simulator and what has happened out on track is very good, so we're hoping for a good qualifying this afternoon."

  • 03:09

    Rosberg pulled over at the end of the pitlane for a practice start, he's the last to go out except two HRTs.

  • 03:10

    In fact, both Mercedes drivers have completed two installation laps, but now the track falls silent.

  • 03:10

    TweetTweet from @tonyfernandes: Good race meeting. Its all about temperatures. We will be much faster in hot temperatures. Tropical team. Got to get heat in tyres. FP3 now

  • 03:12

    The wind is blowing pretty strong today, not as bad as yesterday but in the same direction, so the teams should be getting used to it.

  • 03:13

    Timo Glock breaks cover and heads out on track.

  • 03:13

    Virgin Racing have already had to change an engine - Glock taking his second engine of the year out for a drive.

  • 03:14

    Petrov and D'Ambrosio also head out on to the Albert Park circuit.

  • 03:15

    With fifteen minutes gone, no one has set a time yet. 45 minutes remain.

  • 03:15

    QuoteComment from Lukeh: Also didn't realise until I heard it on 5 live last night that Heidfeld has a thing for Kubica on his helmet too

  • 03:16

    Brief yellow flags for a moment there.

  • 03:17

    Liuzzi managed to get out of the garage, headed out of the pitlane, and is already being wheeled off track by marshals.

  • 03:18

    We're getting some times now, Glock has set a 1:35.394 for a momentary lead.

  • 03:18

    RadioTeam radio between HRT and Liuzzi:

    "Tonio, can you describe what happened? We've lost all contact with the car."

    "I try to touch the break and the gearbox went into false neutral and the engine stopped."

  • 03:19

    The HRT stopped out at Turn 5, so that's four corners. More than Chandhok achieved, I suppose, but bad news indeed.

  • 03:20

    Button has a huge lockup, flies off into the gravel, but continues onwards - flatspotted tyres ahoy.

  • 03:20

    Pérez has slipped into a temporary lead with a 1:30.263.

  • 03:21

    TweetTweet from @MarussiaVirgin: Well at least he didn't hit anything!

  • 03:21

    Parked HRTLiuzzi is surrounded by marshals as the car fails underneath him.

  • 03:22

    Meanwhile, Petrov drops the times to 1:27.709.

  • 03:22

    For reference, the FP3 lead in 2010 went to Mark Webber with a 1:24.719.

  • 03:23

    BBC report that McLaren are now looking at Jenson Button's brakes after his epic lock-up. Hamilton is circling without issue.

  • 03:24

    Pastor Maldonado has gone off into the gravel - it doesn't look like the car is stuck but it's not moving.

  • 03:24

    Yellow flagYellow flags.

  • 03:25

    Maldonado has gone off at the long right-hander at turn 8. Overhead shots look like the car is stuck, and the crane is in to lift him out.

  • 03:26

    Pastor in the gravelPaster in the gravel.

  • 03:27

    He didn't stall the engine, and was spinning the rear wheels to try and dig himself out but the car was beached. Sam Michael looks on in despair.

  • 03:28
    Top 5 so far
    1S Vettel1:27.337
    2N Rosberg1:27.493
    3V Petrov
    4N Heidfeld
    5M Schumacher
  • 03:30
    Sector 2 Comparison
    S Vettel
    N Rosberg23.1280kph
    J Button23.1279kph
  • 03:30

    Paul di Resta looked on for a hot lap but ran a bit wide at the end of it, crossing the line 15th.

  • 03:30

    Replays show he just missed his braking point which spoiled his final sector.

  • 03:32

    RadioTeam radio between Force India and Sutil.

    "KERS failed. KERS failed."

    "Yes, shall I go to the pits?"

    "Carry on at the moment. We'll let you know."

  • 03:32

    RadioTeam radio to Sutil: "KERS is working now."

  • 03:32

    Panic over then.

  • 03:33

    QuoteComment from Lukeh: Oh they found the plug

  • 03:34

    RadioTeam radio to Button: "Jenson, stop on your marks so the gunmen can practice and then we'll wheel you back."

  • 03:34

    Webber puts in a fastest lap - 1:26.993.

  • 03:35

    Ted Kravitz reports that Rubens Barrichello has climbed out of the car and doesn't look set to participate in this session anymore.

  • 03:36

    It looks like it's a KERS problem for the Williams.

  • 03:36

    Just under 24 minutes remaining of this session now.

  • 03:38

    Buemi pops up to 2nd, a 1:27.008! A Toro Rosso!

  • 03:38

    Meanwhile, Webber is busy improving on his time but it looks as though Button is behind him and going even faster.

  • 03:39

    Button is on the softer tyre (1:25.961), Webber is on the harder compound (1:26.159_.

  • 03:41

    Interview with Pastor Maldonado: "I lost control of the car in turn 6, under braking. I think the grip on the track was not so good. Now I'm confident for qualifying, let's see what we can do. The track is improving lap by lap."

  • 03:41

    Bad start to the day for Williams, with Pastor off and Rubens with a suspected gearbox and oil leak.

  • 03:41

    Pérez returns to the pitlane at a snail's pace, he should make it back to the garage but it's slow!

  • 03:41

    QuoteComment from Lukeh: maybe Perez is just avoiding any fines

  • 03:42

    An onboard graphic from Hamilton's car earlier seemed to show the McLaren not using any KERS at all. He got to the end of the lap with a full meter.

  • 03:43
    Field Spread
    1stJ Button1:25.961
    22ndJ D'Ambrosio1:33.131
  • 03:43

    Vettel puts in the fastest lap of the weekend so far - 1:25.327.

  • 03:44

    TweetTweet from @narainracing: Thank you all for your wishes. We are not out as yet...., they are still workin on the car ..... and we have only 30 mins left !!!!!!

  • 03:44

    Karthikeyan spends his practice session patiently waiting. And tweeting.

  • 03:45

    5live report Pérez is out for the rest of the session with a loss of power although the underlying cause is yet to be known.

  • 03:45

    Less than 15 minutes remaining now.

  • 03:46

    TweetTweet from @MarussiaVirgin: Looking like it's time to switch to yellows. Timo coming in for setup. He seems happy with the camber

  • 03:46

    Fernando Alonso moves Ferrari up to 3rd.

  • 03:46
    Inter-Team Battle
    Fernando Alonso3rd - 1:26.121
    Felipe Massa15th - 1:28.173
  • 03:47

    Most of the drivers are in the pitlane, but Alonso, Massa, Hamilton and Maldonado continue to circle.

  • 03:49

    Ted Kravitz reports that there may an agreement between the teams that if anyone does qualify outside the 107% rule, they could start from the pitlane.

  • 03:49

    Hamilton is using KERS this time round, assuming all the graphics are correct.

  • 03:50

    TweetTweet from @HispaniaRacing: We are checking what happened with Liuzzi's car

  • 03:50

    Replays show Massa locking up and running wide, throwing up a bit of grass. He isn't looking comfortable out on track yet.

  • 03:51

    HRT are reporting that Karthikeyan is close to heading out.

  • 03:53

    And there he is! Karthikeyan has hit the track. How far will he get?

  • 03:53

    Meanwhile, Massa's camera on top of the car is hanging off, looks like it could fall at any moment.

  • 03:54

    The HRT is slow, cars are streaming past, and it goes straight back into the pitlane.

  • 03:54

    Narain movingNarain moving... slowly.

  • 03:54

    QuoteComment from Steven Roy: HRT will be lucky to meet 170% rule never mind 107%

  • 03:55

    With less than five minutes to go, most of the cars that can are out on track to put in a speedy final lap.

  • 03:56

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Felipe had to come in because he lost the roll hoop camera.

  • 03:56

    RadioTeam radio to Rosberg: "You have a small amount of KERS, about 70% of KERS to use as you wish. The best place is probably out of 6, keep it for 6."

  • 03:57

    Vettel is on for a storming lap.

  • 03:58

    See? 1:24.507.

  • 03:59

    Karthikeyan is out on track again, looks like he might be going a bit faster.

  • 03:59

    TweetTweet from @autosportlive: With all eyes on Red Bull's pace, most of the cars are lapping on used soft tyres to see how they will fare in the race.

  • 04:00

    RadioTeam radio from Button: "The HRT just drove around the middle of the circuit."

  • 04:00

    Chequered flagSession complete.

  • 04:00

    Narain has a time! 1:41.554. That's just 17 seconds off the pace, no biggie.

  • 04:01

    Just for fun.

    Field Spread
    1stS Vettel1:24.507
    23rdN Karthikeyan1:41.554
  • 04:02
    Top 5
    1S Vettel1:24.507
    2M Webber1:25.364
    3L Hamilton
    4J Button
    5V Petrov
  • 04:03
    Gap between top 3
  • 04:04

    TweetTweet from @willbuxton: An interesting session. Red Bull frighteningly fast. McLaren showing well too. Petrov impressive, so too Kobash.

  • 04:04

    So, quite a few of the teams have a lot of work to do ahead of qualifying later today.

  • 04:05

    Williams have both cars to look at, Sauber need to investigate Pérez's problems, and HRT have to pick up the pace.

  • 04:05

    Qualifying begins at 6am GMT, with the BBC TV build-up beginning an hour before.

  • 04:07

    Vettel fastestVettel takes the fastest time of the weekend so far, what will he produce in qualifying?

  • 04:07

    QuoteComment from Sebastian X: With that difference, Vettel would lap Karthikeyan in under six laps.

  • 04:08

    The Factbyte Factbox will return at 5am GMT, so I hope you will all be awake and ready to rock and roll!

  • 04:08

    See you then for the first qualifying session of 2011!

All content in the series Australia 2011