Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes 1-2 in the final practice session ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix as the Brackley squad totally dominated. Rosberg led teammate Lewis Hamilton with no other driver within a second of the Silver Arrows, Kimi Raikkonen being the nearest driver to them once again.
The writing was on the wall from the beginning of the session with the Mercedes pair already quickest on the hard tyres. Ferrari were the first major player to concentrate on qualifying simulations and not even the 1.5s boost of the softer rubber could take Fernando Alonso ahead of Hamilton. Raikkonen did find a little more pace in his Ferrari, continuing the trend from yesterday, to go fastest on a 1:40.156 but that time would be put in perspective when Mercedes fitted option tyres to their cars.
Rosberg immediately chopped a second off the benchmark time with a 1:39.008 and his teammate looked set to go even quicker before a lock-up cost him time. Hamilton eventually slotted in a quarter of a second behind but a comfortable nine tenths clear of the third-placed Ferrari. Red Bull left their medium tyre run later than most with Sebastian Vettel snatching fourth from Nico Hulkenberg while Daniel Ricciardo’s late improvement demoted Fernando Alonso to seventh. Williams remain contenders for a place near the front of the grid with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas eighth and ninth with Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten for Force India, albeit half a second down on his teammate.
Lotus enjoyed a better morning with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado having relatively few problems but that didn’t stop the Frenchman describing the handling as a “disaster” over the radio. For once though, he found himself in a better position than the drivers next door at McLaren with both cars sidelined by a sensor problem which is in danger of keeping them out of qualifying too.
|2014 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULT|
|1||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||MED||1:39.008|
|2||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||MED||1:39.240|
|3||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||MED||1:40.156|
|4||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||MED||1:40.387|
|5||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||MED||1:40.523|
|6||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||MED||1:40.686|
|7||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||MED||1:40.736|
|8||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||MED||1:40.781|
|9||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||MED||1:40.891|
|10||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||MED||1:41.029|
|11||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||MED||1:41.182|
|12||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||MED||1:41.441|
|13||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||MED||1:41.552|
|14||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||MED||1:42.041|
|15||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||MED||1:42.749|
|16||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||MED||1:43.539|
|17||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||MED||1:43.977|
|18||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||MED||1:44.170|
|19||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||HARD||1:44.457|
|20||10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||HARD||1:46.015|
|21||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||HARD||2:05.555|
|22||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||HARD||NO TIME|