Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the final free practice session at Melbourne, lapping an impressive half a second faster than either Mercedes and putting an alert up for qualifying later today. The German's 1:23.380s was also faster than his own pole record from 2013.
As Vettel hit the sweet spot with hit Ferrari, he sat out the final 20 minutes of the session to see others were unable - or not intending - to beat his team. Even when Mercedes switched to the ultrasoft tyres, they were not a match to Vettel's pace.
Nico Hulkenberg meanwhile beat Daniel Ricciardo to 5th, a surprise performance for Renault, who are still working on their comeback after their troubled 2016 season.
Romain Grosjean did well in 7th, despite clearly continuing to struggle with his car's brakes. His team mate at Haas, Kevin Magnussen positioned an equally respectable 10th, sandwishing both Toro Rosso drivers in 8th and 9th.
Further hopes for improvements were denied when Lance Stroll caught the wall, bringing out the red flags for the remained of the session. Williams confirmed later they were changing the gearbox on Stroll's Williams FW40 ahead of qualifying.
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:23.859||+0.479s||12|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:23.870||+0.490s||12|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:25.092||+1.712s||15|
|7||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:25.581||+2.201s||11|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:25.948||+2.568s||11|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:26.049||+2.669s||11|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:26.138||+2.758s||11|
|11||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:26.237||+2.857s||15|
|12||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:26.269||+2.889s||7|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:26.457||+3.077s||12|
|14||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||1:26.556||+3.176s||7|
|15||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Honda||1:26.699||+3.319s||9|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1:27.103||+3.723s||16|
|17||18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||1:27.327||+3.947s||12|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:27.402||+4.022s||10|
|20||36||Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber Ferrari||1:28.583||+5.203s||18|