Australian Grand Prix live

Date: March 24, 2018, 10:10 PM PDT
Location: Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia

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Australian Grand Prix 2018 Free Live Race

 Australian Grand Prix 2018

FORMER world champ Nico Rosberg has given a damning forecast of Aussie star Dan Ricciardo’s race chances after his grid penalty.

Ricciardo was penalised for going too fast under a red flag during a flying practice lap on Friday, and was considerably upset.

“They could have fined me … anything but robbing me a chance of a front row start,” Ricciardo said.

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The penalty, which means the Aussie can’t start from anywhere better than fourth, has cost him any chance of winning according to Rosberg, the 2016 world champ.

“His chances of winning are gone,” Rosberg told Sky’s UK coverage.

But Damon Hill, the 1996 world champ, said rules are rules and if anything, Ricciardo got off lightly.

“They could have given him a five spot penalty,” Hill said.
Red Bull’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo

“You have to slow down.”

After the final practice session of the weekend, no-one is any clearer on the qualifying order.

The previous pace-setter, Lewis Hamilton, was only eighth as the Ferrari pair – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen – topped the times.

But the conditions were mixed and Alfa Romeo driver Marcus Ericsson was a stunning third.

The Swedish driver only made an impact because he was one of only three drivers to set a representative lap time on ultra-soft slick Pirelli tyres.

The fastest driver on intermediate tyres, which were necessary on a damp track earlier in the session, was Max Verstappen in his Red Bull racer.

But mad Max only managed a 1 minute 31.6 second lap, compared to the benchmark 1:26.0 clocked by Vettel.

The German was well clear of Raikkonen, who managed 1:28.4, while Ericsson lapped in 1:28.8.

Back on the intermediate tyres, the pecking order behind Verstappen was Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes and Hamilton.

But the smart money is still on another pole at Albert Park for Hamilton, with Ricciardo looking for the best possible slot before the application of the three-place grid penalty he scored for speeding on Saturday afternoon.

In the final practice session before qualifying, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari had begun to show their true pace on a drying track.

The early part of the session had been carried out in damp conditions but when the track began to warm up, Vettel strapped on the purple ultra-softs and produced the fastest time of the afternoon.

But Lewis Hamilton had already taken the upper hand with the fastest time in each of the first two practice sessions as Mercedes confirmed their tag as favourites.

This is how the action unfolded as Hamilton broke yet another record on his way to pole position.

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