Rosberg stays fastest in final Sepang practice
29 March 2014 – Nico Rosberg headed a Mercedes one-two during Saturday afternoon's final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The German clocked a best time of 1:39.008 on the Option rubber to lead team-mate Lewis Hamilton by two tenths of a second. The Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen was more than a second adrift in third.
Amid further hot and humid conditions, the opening half of the hour-long session was dedicated to more race preparation on the Prime, Hard compound tyre, a phase comfortably led by the Silver Arrows pairing.
The team then strengthened its grip when the switch to the Medium step arrived, with Rosberg delivering his low 1m39s effort shortly before Hamilton, whose quickest lap was affected by a sizeable lock-up at Turn 9.
Räikkönen again emerged as Mercedes's main rival in third, albeit 1.148 seconds adrift, while reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel ensured that all three engine suppliers were represented in the top four positions.
Despite complaining of poor balance in the closing stages of the session, Nico Hülkenberg was able to place his Force India machine fifth, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas followed, while Sergio Pérez completed the top ten places.
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado continued to struggle with the ill-handling E22, prompting the Frenchman to describe the rear end of the car as "a disaster" upon his return to the pit lane.
It was an equally challenging session for McLaren, with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen completing just nine laps between them amid suspected hardware problems. While Button was able to complete a cautious lap early in the hour, Magnussen hit major engine trouble, and both men face the possibility of missing qualifying.
Saturday's qualifying session at Sepang gets underway at 4pm local time (GMT +8)