Mercedes ahead by a second in final practice

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix third practice

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Mercedes stamped their authority over proceedings in Sepang, lapping over a second faster than their rivals in the final practice session.

Nico Rosberg led the way, setting the fastest lap of the weekend so far with a 1’39.008 on medium tyres, almost a second quicker than he managed yesterday.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton, who had been quicker earlier in the session while running on the harder compound, lapped just over two tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

Several drivers complained of poor grip conditions on the track in the final session and most failed to improve on their Friday lap times. But the Mercedes drivers gained as much as nine tenths of a second, revealing the extent to which they had concealed their pace yesterday.

Kimi Raikkonen consistently led the charge of Mercedes’ rivals but ended the session 1.1 seconds slower than Rosberg in third place.

Behind the Ferrari driver the gaps were much closer. Sebastian Vettel set the best time for a Renault-powered car, three-tenths of a second faster than team mate Daniel Ricciardo, the pair separated by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

Both Williams drivers and the second Force India of Sergio Perez also featured in the top ten.

However it was a disastrous session for McLaren, with both drivers failing to set a representative time. Kevin Magnussen pitted with an engine problem soon after joining the track. Although McLaren got him back on the track later in the session he suffered a repeat of the same problem, which could jeopardise his participation in qualifying.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’39.00813
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’39.2400.23213
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.1561.14813
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’40.3871.37914
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’40.5231.51515
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’40.6861.67814
714Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.7361.72814
819Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’40.7811.77320
977Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’40.8911.88320
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’41.0292.02115
1126Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’41.1822.17418
1225Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’41.4412.43318
1399Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’41.5522.54415
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’42.0413.03317
158Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’42.7493.74116
1613Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’43.5394.53120
174Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’43.9774.96916
1817Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’44.1705.16218
199Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’44.4575.44912
2010Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’46.0157.0077
2122Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes2’05.55526.5474
2220Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes5

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’41.0281’39.9091’39.008-0.90162
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’40.6911’40.0511’39.240-0.81164
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.8431’39.9441’40.156+0.21263
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’41.5231’39.9701’40.387+0.41753
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’41.9231’40.1031’40.736+0.63357
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’41.6861’40.1121’40.781+0.66977
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’42.1171’40.2761’40.686+0.4163
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’41.6421’40.6911’40.523-0.16868
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’41.1111’40.6282’05.555+24.92752
10Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’41.8301’40.6381’40.891+0.25377
11Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’41.4021’40.7771’41.441+0.66466
12Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’41.2741’41.01443
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’41.6711’41.029-0.64242
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’42.8691’41.3251’41.182-0.14371
15Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’42.3651’41.2571’41.552+0.29564
16Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’42.9041’41.4071’42.041+0.63474
17Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’42.5311’42.749+0.21834
18Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’43.53922
19Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’46.9111’43.6381’43.977+0.33946
20Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’43.8251’43.7521’44.170+0.41865
21Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’45.7751’45.7031’44.457-1.24667
22Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’51.1801’46.015-5.16517

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Mercedes ahead by a second in final practice”

  1. most team banking on wet weather setup which is apparent looking at the speed trap figure of each sector.

    Merc seems to be banging on weather staying dry.

  2. Wet qualifying + Lewis Hamilton on pole :D

  3. Apart from a Mercedes front row being very likely, its hard to predict much. Will McLaren even be able to run in Quali? And how much are RBR and maybe Ferrari keeping back?.

    Off course we could have rain in an hour or during qualifying, making it more of a gamble than anything.

  4. Time for me to have my say on the whole engine debate and I’ve waited a while to do this.

    Anybody complaining about the lack of engine noise is whining basically. By losing the volume of the engine, you learn how much noise you were actually missing out on before.

    You gain so much more immersion as a viewer now, hearing everything that is going on with the car: the lockups, tyre squeels, marbles, bumps and even the car bottoming out. I actually feel we were robbed by the sound of the previous engines of all these intimate sounds.

    And on top of all these intimate sounds, you get all the atmospherics now too.

    Instead of the cars bullishly dominating their surroundings with a body shaking sound, you now get to see and hear the challenges they face. It is truly fantastic.

    1. @djdaveyp87 – Well said, good points.

      Over the many years of F1 there have been many different engine sounds. There is not just one F1 noise and never has been. It has changed over the years, more as a function of the engine than at the whim of waffling perpetual motor mouth promoters.

      1. @bullmello

        There is not just one F1 noise and never has been.

        Murray Walker? :p

    2. I liked the loud V8s more for the live experience, as a TV viewer, I got agree with you that these quiet PUs can offer a different and quite pleasant acoustic experience.

    3. I love and hate the new engine sound.

      I hate it because is doesn’t have that high pitched high rpm scream synonymous with F1. I love it because I can hear so many other sounds that were drowned out before. (as you have stated)

      So I average out in the middle. Both sides have their pros and cons, and by the end of the season I won’t notice a difference anymore.

  5. After FP3 is clear that QUALI will be boring;\ The winner is clear it’ll be MERC 1-2 (either HAM or ROS will win).
    The lead is hudge there’s no one near to MERC. So that race would become a bit interesting I hope that MERC will be mercilles on their tyres and then other teams will have a chance to challenge them.

  6. Only team to take a big leap, very impressive considering that this was achieved primarily in the 1st and last sector.

    1. A strong indication that they were sandbagging and being conservative on their engines on Friday. Then morphing into Red Bull and unleashing a statement of intent in FP3.

      Qualifying seems to be a foregone conclusion in the dry, but should it rain (like most are predicting), I think we will see that 1 second gap reduced.

  7. Is Red Bull being powered by an upgraded PU version that other Renault powered cars don’t have or the car is just that good?

    1. Red Bull are towards the bottom of the speed traps, The cars just very good aerodynamically.

      1. So as expected, the day Renault gets on top of whatever is keeping them behind, Red Bull will make Mercedes life a little bit harder…

        1. Not to mention circuits like Monaco, where top speed isn’t very important.

    2. @jcost who knows? What I see and has been confirmed by people at Mercedes the Renault engine has good power when running at full pace, so let’s wait for the qualifying to see if they can get close the gap on the straight line deficit.

  8. Hulkenberg again sticks his neck out and shows he has speed, while Kimi seems to have found something Fernado can’t, Daniel is keeping Seb in check, the Williams cars do the most laps at a decent paces hacks in distance with a slow going Lotus driven by one of their drivers from last yr. I Like it!

    1. well said. Battle between team mates, especially in teams that matter seems to be much more evenly poised and unpredictable than the previous years – HAM-ROS, RAI-ALO, VET-RIC, BUT-MAG, MAS-BOT can all go either way which is really interesting for a viewer. There is no clear faster or better driver within any of these teams

  9. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    29th March 2014, 7:52

    I’m not sure if Red Bull were not running at full power in FP3, but, they were almost 20kph slower at the speed trap than Mercedes… errr. Wow.

  10. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    29th March 2014, 8:40

    anyone, please: what happens if qualy cannot take place? how is it defined who gets which position?

Comments are closed.