Rosberg pegs Hamilton back as practice ends

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix third practice

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Mercedes continued to lead the way in the final practice session in Abu Dhabi – but for the first time this weekend Nico Rosberg was their quickest driver.

Much of Rosberg’s advantage appeared to come in the final sector of the lap. Lewis Hamilton, who has tended to be strong around that part of the Yas Marina circuit, lost most of the three-tenths gap to his team mate there.

No other car was able to get within a second of Rosberg’s mark. Felipe Massa led the charge for Williams after Valtteri Bottas made a mistake on his first flying lap on super-soft tyres.

Fernando Alonso appeared to be adopting an unusual strategy in response to the time he lost during yesterday’s second practice session. He did just eight laps at the beginning of practice, including one on the super-softs which was good enough for fourth place, before returning to the pits for work to be done on his car ahead of qualifying.

There was very little to separate the cars behind Alonso which included both Red Bulls, Jenson Button, Botttas and Daniil Kvyat covered by 0.15 seconds. The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten.

Newcomer Will Stevens ended practice at the bottom of the times sheets but within a second of Caterham team mate Kamui Kobayashi.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.424 19
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’41.793 0.369 17
3 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’42.429 1.005 18
4 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’42.653 1.229 8
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’42.679 1.255 19
6 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’42.768 1.344 20
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’42.773 1.349 14
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’42.794 1.370 19
9 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’42.809 1.385 20
10 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’43.038 1.614 14
11 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’43.112 1.688 13
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’43.352 1.928 20
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’43.360 1.936 19
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’43.501 2.077 18
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’43.643 2.219 24
16 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’43.718 2.294 17
17 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’43.778 2.354 18
18 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’44.022 2.598 22
19 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’45.044 3.620 16
20 46 Will Stevens Caterham-Renault 1’45.959 4.535 21

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’43.609 1’42.196 1’41.424 -0.772 86
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’43.476 1’42.113 1’41.793 -0.32 83
3 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’46.549 1’43.558 1’42.429 -1.129 59
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’45.184 1’42.653 -2.531 32
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’45.334 1’42.959 1’42.679 -0.28 82
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’47.235 1’43.503 1’42.768 -0.735 50
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’45.361 1’43.183 1’42.773 -0.41 68
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’45.913 1’43.070 1’42.794 -0.276 61
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’45.835 1’43.546 1’42.809 -0.737 90
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’46.049 1’42.895 1’43.112 +0.217 72
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’46.131 1’43.489 1’43.038 -0.451 69
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’45.718 1’44.157 1’43.352 -0.805 75
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’45.983 1’43.746 1’43.360 -0.386 78
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’46.030 1’44.068 1’43.501 -0.567 74
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’46.556 1’44.316 1’43.643 -0.673 89
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’46.711 1’44.005 1’43.718 -0.287 85
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’44.986 1’43.778 -1.208 52
18 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’44.763 1’44.022 -0.741 58
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’47.971 1’45.505 1’45.044 -0.461 78
20 Will Stevens Caterham-Renault 1’50.684 1’47.057 1’45.959 -1.098 68
21 Esteban Ocon Lotus-Renault 1’47.066 29
22 Adderly Fong Sauber-Ferrari 1’48.269 25

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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11 comments on “Rosberg pegs Hamilton back as practice ends”

  1. The fastest man out there today was actually Bernie Ecclestone, running away from Jonny Herbert!

  2. I think Hamilton had traffic in the final sector and backed off. Considering Nico has been faster in S1 and S2 previously (with Lewis making up all his time in S3) this bodes ominously for Nico. If Lewis is now faster in those first two sectors AND still has his favorite sector in hand, Nico should be worried.

  3. Actually, I would say that this is a very decent showing from Stevens. In only his 3rd session in these complicated F1 cars he gets close enough to Kobayashi to show promise. And huge progress from the first session too.

    1. Very impressed by him. Hope that he makes it into F1.

    2. @bascb I was about to say the same. To be 1 second away from the guy that drove that car almost all season, and has F1 experience, is a very good performance

  4. Logically Rosberg will have optimised his car to be sharp on options for qualy and be planning to back Lewis into the Williams/Red Bulls in the race.

    His nightmare scenario is for Lewis to clear off in the lead.

    So I would not be surprised to see Rosberg on pole.

  5. Sick picture to accompany the report. Really showcases intensity and speed.

  6. Astounding interview with Ron Dennis on the BBC show. It sounds as though he’s waiting to see if Hamilton misses out tomorrow and might be more persuadable in returning to McLaren for 2016. Presumably Alonso is fishing for a one-year deal and Ron wants to see if Hamilton might make that more acceptable to him …

  7. le’s go for it Nico…i belive it

  8. ALO, BUT, VET all shining in their final drives for their respect teams?

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