Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc records fastest time in third practice session at Melbourne Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc records fastest time in third practice session at Melbourne Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has gone fastest in the last practice session before qualifying at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

Winner of the 2022 race at Albert Park, Leclerc saved it late to top the times in P3 on Saturday.

Despite expressing frustration during the session with his vehicle, three-time defending world champion Max Verstappen was second.

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Ferrari’s resurgence looks set to continue after Carlos Sainz joined his teammate Leclerc in the top three.

Sainz was forced to sit out of the Saudi Arabia race, replaced by youngster Oliver Bearman, after having surgery for appendicitis.

The Spaniard was no certainty to race in Melbourne, as recently as two days ago, but Sainz has made a seamless transition back into his Ferrari.

Melbourne fans are loving the form of Leclerc. Credit: Getty Images

He led the session for a long period, before Leclerc and Verstappen pipped him in the final minute.

Australian rising star Oscar Piastri looked promising in his McLaren, but was pushed down to eighth.

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After rocketing up to third near the end of the session, the 22-year-old was pleased with himself: “It’s amazing what happens when you stop being an idiot on turn one”.

Despite McLaren entering this year’s Australian race with their cars performing better, Piastri has played down expectations of breaking through for a podium at Albert Park.

Fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo struggled for pace in his RB car, finishing 18th out of 19.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant will not race for the remainder of the weekend, with teammate Alex Albon taking over in his car.

Albon’s vehicle suffered extensive damage after he crashed into a wall during practice on Friday.

Williams later confirmed Sargeant would step aside to allow the British-born Thai driver to race instead.

Qualifying will begin at 4pm (AEDT).

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