Nico Rosberg has kept his advantage over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the final practice session of the 2015 Formula 1 season at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit.
The German, who is gunning for three race wins on the trot, beat Hamilton by 0.281 seconds in the final on-track running before this evening’s qualifying session, while fourth-fastest Sergio Pérez split the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen on the timesheets.
While the Mercedes’ occupied their usual 1-2 at the top of the timesheets, there was still evidence of tension between its two drivers after Hamilton complained over the pit-to-car radio that Rosberg had held him up on a flying lap late in the one-hour session.
Vettel was the Silver Arrows’ closest challenger, finishing just over three-tenths of a second off Rosberg’s pace, with teammate Räikkönen a further four-tenths adrift.
By far the star performer of the weekend so far has been Pérez, who continued his red hot Friday form with the fourth-fastest time of the session. Teammate Nico Hülkenberg was seventh-fastest in the Silverstone team’s other VJM08B, just behind Daniel Ricciardo, who was the only Red Bull Racing driver to complete a timed lap after troubles for teammate Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat’s car appeared to suffer from electrical gremlins early on, with the Russian forced back into the pits after his installation lap.
The Williams Mercedes’ of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished eighth- and ninth-fastest respectively, although the team is yet to really show its hand after opting to give each driver just one set of either tyre compound to use in the session. By contrast, every other driver to post a time in this session ran on at least four different sets of Pirelli tyres.
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|2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:41.856||19|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:42.137||+ 0.281||19|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:42.185||+ 0.329||19|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:42.448||+ 0.592||17|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:42.627||+ 0.771||17|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:42.726||+ 0.870||14|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:42.859||+ 1.003||17|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:43.173||+ 1.317||23|
|9.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:43.239||+ 1.383||18|
|10.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:43.429||+ 1.573||21|
|11.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:43.508||+ 1.652||14|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:43.680||+ 1.824||17|
|13.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:43.718||+ 1.862||23|
|14.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:43.826||+ 1.970||18|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:43.928||+ 2.072||20|
|16.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:44.014||+ 2.158||12|
|17.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:44.325||+ 2.469||20|
|18.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:47.283||+ 5.427||15|
|19.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:47.520||+ 5.664||16|
|20.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||no time||2|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team