Nico Rosberg held the advantage over Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in the final practice session for the 2014 season at the Yas Marina circuit. Rosberg set the fastest time ahead of the qualifying session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with a 1:41.424 – 0.369s faster than his team mate.
Hamilton looked set to take the top spot after setting the fastest two sectors during his final lap but lost too much ground in the final sector.
Williams’ Felipe Massa took the third spot on the time sheets, a full 1.005s down on Rosberg, showing once again the superiority of the Mercedes duo and their lightning fast cars.
We should not, however, forget that the setting sun and subsequent falling track temperatures during qualifying at the Yas Marina circuit will mean that a fast FP3 lap may not translate into the same during qualifying. For this very reason, qualifying simulations were left until pretty late in the practice session to get track conditions as close to qualifying as possible. Mercedes should still nevertheless lock out the front row of the grid in qualifying, with Williams hot on their heels.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set his time on soft tyres during the early stages of the session, then set a time on the supersofts and never took part in the rest of the session. He ended in fourth place as he and Ferrari attempt to save mileage on his engine.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel finished his last practice session for the Red Bull team in fifth place, ahead of Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas Bottas made a mistake in the final corner on his super-soft run which saw him only managing eigth place but he will most certainly be targeting the second row, come qualifying.
Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 10.
McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen posted the 11th best time of the session, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Esteban Gutierrez beat the two Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean to 15th place with Adrian Sutil just behind.
Caterham remained at the bottom of the timesheets on their return to F1 this weekend with Caterham’s rookie Will Stevens getting to within a second of team mate Kamui Kobayashi’s time for the first time.