Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia final practice

Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap of the weekend so far in third and final practice ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix.

He was just under two tenths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton who in turn was four tenths ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen lost out on some running after getting a puncture early in the session and he set his best lap with just five minutes of the session remaining. The Finnish driver was in turn just a couple of hundredths ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

When the session went green a number of drivers including Jenson Button, Will Stevens and both Lotus drivers took to the track for installation laps. Temperatures were hot and a lot of drivers struggled with front tyres locking. Drivers were also complaining to their engineers about tricky car handling. At the rear of the times Roberto Merhi was within 107% but team-mate Will Stevens was outside the necessary time. There were plenty of close battles up and down the order, including between team-mates. While Mercedes are still ahead Ferrari appear to be closer while Williams are still close behind them. The times around the drop zone between Q3 and Q2 were also close with the likes of Force India and McLaren fighting for position.

Free practice three times:

  1. Nico Rosberg – 1:39.690 – 13 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:39.874 – 10 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:40.245 – 9 laps
  4. Sebastian Vettel – 1:40.266 – 13 laps
  5. Felipe Massa – 1:40.391 – 14 laps
  6. Valtteri Bottas – 1:40.406 – 15 laps
  7. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:40.590 – 19 laps
  8. Carlos Sainz – 1:40.601 – 19 laps
  9. Max Verstappen – 1:40.989 – 18 laps
  10. Marcus Ericsson – 1:41.200 – 19 laps
  11. Romain Grosjean – 1:41.206 – 16 laps
  12. Pastor Maldonado – 1:41.592 – 18 laps
  13. Daniil Kvyat – 1:41.776 – 14 laps
  14. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:41.804 – 15 laps
  15. Fernando Alonso – 1:41.991 – 13 laps
  16. Sergio Perez – 1:42.100 – 14 laps
  17. Felipe Nasr – 1:42.117 – 18 laps
  18. Jenson Button – 1:42.319 – 13 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:46.647 – 9 laps
  20. Will Stevens – 1:47.059 – 6 laps
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