Rosberg beats Hamilton to top spot in final Abu Dhabi practice

by Paul Hensby

For the first time this weekend, Nico Rosberg was the faster of the two Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS drivers as he beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton in third practice at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

0.369s separated the two Mercedes drivers, with Rosberg’s 1:41.424s beating Hamilton’s 1:41.793s. The two of them are once again well clear of the rest of the field, with Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa the best of the rest in third but over one second slower than the pace of Rosberg.

After losing the majority of second practice on Friday, Fernando Alonso was eager to make up for lost time, but only completed eight laps before being called back into the pits so Ferrari could change his engine before qualifying. His one timed lap on the Supersoft Pirelli tyres was enough to see him fourth fastest, proving there is some pace in his Ferrari this weekend.

Alonso’s lap time was 0.024s faster than his replacement in the Ferrari team for 2015 Sebastian Vettel, who was fifth fastest in his final practice session for the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team.

Jenson Button was sixth for McLaren on what could be his final Formula 1 Grand Prix with the line-up in the team for 2015 yet to be confirmed, just 0.005s faster than the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, while Valtteri Bottas was a further 0.021s back in eighth for Williams.

Daniil Kvyat was ninth fastest for Scuderia Toro Rosso, only 0.015s slower than Bottas, while Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten in the second Ferrari.

A number of drivers ran off the track during the session, including Rosberg and Ricciardo, but also Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez and Will Stevens.

Abu Dhabi Free Practice 3 Times

1 6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1:41.424
2 44 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes 1:41.793
3 19 Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1:42.429
4 14 Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 1:42.653
5 1 Sebastian Vettel GER Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:42.679
6 22 Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.768
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:42.773
8 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1:42.794
9 26 Daniil Kvyat RUS STR-Renault 1:42.809
10 7 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Ferrari 1:43.038
11 20 Kevin Magnussen DEN McLaren-Mercedes 1:43.112
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne FRA STR-Renault 1:43.352
13 11 Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1:43.360
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1:43.501
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez MEX Sauber-Ferrari 1:43.643
16 13 Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus-Renault 1:43.718
17 8 Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus-Renault 1:43.778
18 99 Adrian Sutil GER Sauber-Ferrari 1:44.022
19 10 Kamui Kobayashi JAP Caterham-Renault 1:45.044
20 46 Will Stevens GBR Caterham-Renault 1:45.959


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