Spanish GP: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in final practice
|By James Roberts||Saturday, May 10th 2014, 10:07 GMT|
Mercedes continued its dominance of Formula 1 as Nico Rosberg topped the third practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Qualifying this afternoon will most likely be another personal duel between the two Silver Arrows machines. They were split by 0.869 seconds in Saturday morning practice.
Local hero Fernando Alonso was third quickest in his Ferrari, more than 1.3s behind Rosberg and just fractionally ahead of Felipe Massa's Williams.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fifth quickest for Lotus ahead of Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and the other McLaren of Jenson Button.
Pastor Maldonado was ninth quickest in the second Lotus, while Sebastian Vettel made up for the time he lost on Friday by completing 20 laps in his Red Bull and finishing with the 10th fastest time.
At the beginning of the hour the Ferraris set the early pace, with firstly Kimi Raikkonen, then his team-mate Alonso going fastest on the hard tyres in the first 20 minutes.
As the half hour mark approached the Mercedes drivers emerged from the pits and started lighting up the timesheets. Rosberg was first to post the quickest time, over a second faster than Alonso's Ferrari.
Rosberg and his team-mate Hamilton then traded fastest lap times at the top of the order, but it was clear that a number of drivers continued to struggle with the low grip on a dry but overcast day in Barcelona.
Several drivers, including the spectacular Alonso, battled with rear grip issues and once again Max Chilton's session ended in the gravel trap, this time after he locked up his front left heading into Turn 5 and slid wide into the gravel on the outside of the corner.
Kamui Kobayashi also had a late off-track excursion in his Caterham but was able to continue unharmed.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.887s 16 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.756s +0.869s 9 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.188s +1.301s 15 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m27.223s +1.336s 10 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m27.682s +1.795s 18 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.806s +1.919s 16 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m27.808s +1.921s 12 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.006s +2.119s 11 9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m28.076s +2.189s 19 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m28.085s +2.198s 20 11. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m28.101s +2.214s 12 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.242s +2.355s 16 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.298s +2.411s 16 14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.419s +2.532s 16 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m28.571s +2.684s 13 16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m28.668s +2.781s 13 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.715s +2.828s 16 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.865s +2.978s 18 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.169s +4.282s 15 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.670s +4.783s 12 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m30.712s +4.825s 18 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m31.559s +5.672s 19