Hamilton edges Rosberg, Vettel in Australian GP practice

Published Mar. 19, 2016 1:32 a.m. EDT

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in Saturday's pre-qualifying practice session at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, narrowly topping his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

The top three were separated by less than a quarter of a second, setting up a potentially tight battle for pole position later in the day, when the new format of rolling eliminations makes its debut.

The Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen were fourth- and sixth-fastest respectively, either side of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

It was a busy practice session after rain on Friday gave teams very little opportunity to test their tires and car settings.