Rosberg beats Hamilton again in tight FP3 field
Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is poised to be a tense affair after the top seven drivers in Saturday’s final practice session were separated by under a second.
Nico Rosberg once again led the way at the Yas Marina Circuit, having trumped Lewis Hamilton in Friday’s second practice after Mercedes’ world champion had led the way in the initial run.
Hamilton overcame a spin at turn five to lead the best of the rest behind his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel taking up his customary place behind the Silver Arrows despite also going off the track into turn one midway through the session.
The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg have looked quick all weekend and the Mexican once again elbowed in on some high-profile company, splitting the Ferraris of Vettel and fifth-fastest Raikkonen.
A similar showing in qualifying could give Perez a good opportunity to make an impact on Sunday given his renowned ability to make quirky strategy work.
Fernando Alonso, at threat of finishing below a team-mate in the drivers’ championship for the first time in F1, showed his tetchy side, brandishing Manor’s Will Stevens “an idiot” for holding him up late in the session.
The Spaniard was only 16th-quickest, while his fellow McLaren driver Jenson Button was a place off the top 10, and enjoys a five-point advantage over his fellow former world champion as the pair battle for dominance of the 2015 season’ most disappointing constructor.
1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:41.856secs
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:42.137s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:42.185s
4. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:42.448s
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:42.627s
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:42.726s
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:42.726s
8. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:43.173s
9. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:43.239s
10. Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso) 1:43.429