Nico Rosberg has shown Mercedes' pace by going quickest in the final practice session

Nico Rosberg has posted the quickest lap-time in the final practice session ahead of this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The German’s best lap was an impressive four-tenths faster than second-placed Sebastian Vettel, no doubt giving the Mercedes team plenty of confidence that is will be a dark horse later today.

Mark Webber finished up third-fastest in the sister Red Bull, while Lotus runners Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean ensured that four Renault runners finished in the top-five places on the timesheets.

The top ten places were completed by Jenson Button, a rapid Pastor Maldonado, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton (despite a spin) and Kamui Kobayashi – the fastest nine drivers were covered by less than nine-tenths of a second.

Bruno Senna cemented Williams’ solid form by going 11th-quickest, with Sergio Pérez not far behind in his Sauber. The Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne were sandwiched by Nico Hülkenberg and Paul di Resta on the timesheets.

Worryingly, Felipe Massa finished up a very poor 18th overall, just half a second faster than Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham, who again outpaced team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.

The same surprise result met Charles Pic in the Marussia, with the French rookie lapping the Sepang circuit quicker than team-mate Timo Glock, while the two HRTs brought up the rear, but again inside the theoretical 107% qualifying cut-off.

 


2012 Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:36.877   16
2. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:37.320 + 0.443 15
3. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:37.338 + 0.461 12
4. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:37.356 + 0.479 13
5. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:37.382 + 0.505 13
6. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:37.404 + 0.527 12
7. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 1:37.445 + 0.578 13
8. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:37.663 + 0.786 15
9. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:37.776 + 0.899 8
10. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 1:37.977 + 1.100 17
11. Bruno Senna BRA Williams Renault FW34 1:38.091 + 1.214 20
12. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 1:38.178 + 1.301 15
13. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:38.246 + 1.369 17
14. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:38.285 + 1.408 16
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:38.423 + 1.546 13
16. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:38.640 + 1.763 11
17. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:38.794 + 1.917 18
18. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:39.209 + 2.332 16
19. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 1:39.704 + 2.827 15
20. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT01 1:40.189 + 3.312 14
21. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:41.901 + 5.024 14
22. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:42.007 + 5.130 14
23. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:42.464 + 5.587 14
24. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:43.378 + 6.501 17



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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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