Malaysian GP: Lewis Hamilton resists Sebastian Vettel for wet pole
Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix by less than a tenth of a second in a rain-affected Formula 1 qualifying session.
Hamilton’s first flying lap on intermediate tyres in Q3 proved enough to secure top spot, as Vettel split the reigning F1 world champion from his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by qualifying second.
The two Mercedes drivers appeared to get in each other’s way in the crucial closing stages of the session, and Hamilton failed to improve on his final run while Rosberg’s final lap was only good enough for third.
Red Bull team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were fourth and fifth, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of teenaged rookie Max Verstappen, who rounded out the top six.
The drivers who began the session on full wet tyres and had to switch to intermediates filled the remaining spots in the top 10.
Romain Grosjean’s Lotus split Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who could only manage seventh and ninth fastest times respectively, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the Q3 times.
A thunderstorm in the early stages of Q2 effectively reduced the second segment of qualifying to a single-lap shootout, and delayed the final session by half an hour.
The highest-profile casualty of the scramble for track position to get one dry lap in before the rain came was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The 2007 world champion was delayed at the final corner trying to pass Ericsson’s Sauber (the last car to make the cut in 10th) and by being passed by Hamilton’s Mercedes at Turn 1, and wound up only 11th fastest.
Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez (who both ran on used medium tyres), and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr – who impressively matched Vettel in setting the fourth fastest time in Q1 – were also eliminated.
Australian GP star Felipe Nasr failed to escape Q1, having struggled to get comfortable with his Sauber’s handling since taking his car back from Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello after the first practice session on Friday.
The Brazilian qualified almost three tenths adrift of Perez and the same margin ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda.
McLaren failed to get either of its cars out of Q1 for the second straight race, as Button and returning team-mate Fernando Alonso wound up 17th and 18th fastest.
Manor GP has at least completed track running this weekend, but failed to qualify within the 107 per cent cut-off in Q1.
Roberto Merhi set a time almost half a second too slow to make the cut-off (7.4s shy of the outright pace), while a fuel system problem discovered in morning practice confined his team-mate Will Stevens to the garage, so he failed to set a time.
However, Stevens registered a lap quick enough to make the cut in the second free practice session on Friday.
Previously the stewards have allowed cars to start the race in such circumstances, even if they haven’t posted a time in qualifying.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.541s||1.707s|
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.950s||2.116s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m51.980s||2.146s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.022s||-|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.468s||-|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.700s||-|
Malaysian GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton in final practice
Nico Rosberg beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Last year’s title fight runner up Rosberg was quickest after the early runs on the hard-compound Pirelli tyres as Hamilton struggled with the brakes, locking up twice at Turn 9.
And in the final 10 minutes of the session, as drivers bolted on the medium tyres for their qualifying simulation runs, Rosberg improved by seven tenths to clock a 1m39.690s.
Hamilton complained that the "braking is all over the place" when he ran the hard tyres early in the session and when he fitted the mediums, his best time was 0.184s adrift of Rosberg.
The circuit was offering little grip in the 62C degree track temperatures, which combined with high-energy corners and heavy tyre degradation.
That caught a number of drivers out. Sergio Perez and Felipe Nasr were among the drivers to take trips off the road, there were countless severe lock-ups and Roberto Merhi spun at Turn 9 and just managed to keep the Manor out of the gravel.
The Ferraris proved to be Mercedes’ closest challengers, with Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest first sector of all on his way to the third fastest time, 0.555s behind Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel a few thousandths further back.
Felipe Massa had a couple of off-track excursions early in the session before clocking the fifth fastest time, 0.701s off the pace and a few thousandths quicker than Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas in sixth.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was among the first on track, the Australian managing 19 laps in total and ending the one-hour session seventh ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.
Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10, just edging out the two Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
Daniil Kvyat asked for set-up changes on his Red Bull midway through the session after telling the team it had made a "step back". He ended up 13th, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Fernando Alonso was 2.3s off the pace, finishing in 15th ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez, Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.
The Manors brought up the rear, with Merhi heading team-mate Will Stevens.
Merhi’s time of 1m46.647s was fractions inside 107 per cent – the margin required in Q1 to ensure qualification – which means both Manor drivers have achieved the feat this weekend.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES:
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.590s||0.900s||19|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.601s||0.911s||19|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.989s||1.299s||18|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.775s||2.085s||14|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.804s||2.114s||15|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.099s||2.409s||14|
Australian GP: Vettel, Raikkonen say their errors hampered Ferrari
Ferrari Formula 1 team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both reckoned third place on the Australian Grand Prix grid was within reach.
The German and Finn were edged out for best-of-the-rest behind Mercedes in the closing stages of the session by Williams driver Felipe Massa.
Both Ferrari drivers reckoned that small errors on their part had proved decisive.
Vettel, who lined up fourth, thought he should have done a better job on his first set of tyres in Q3.
"Felipe nailed the lap. I think it was in reach on the first set, and ideally it should have been a bit quicker, but it wasn’t," he said.
"That was down to me. The second shot in terms of strategy we could have done things differently, but all in all it was a very good result to have both cars in the top five."
Fifth-fastest Raikkonen said he had lost valuable time when he got Turn 3 slightly wrong on his final lap.
"I had quite a big mistake, three tenths in corner three, and messed it up the next two corners," he explained.
"The rest of the lap was pretty good and I caught up with the laptime, but it was pretty much done.
"We should have been in P3 but that is how it is. And probably we would have been one second behind Mercedes."
Raikkonen remains upbeat about Ferrari’s grand prix prospects following a strong race run in Friday practice.
"We knew we cannot fight with them [Mercedes] in qualifying, but yesterday we had pretty good long run," he said.
"Tomorrow the weather plays a big part, but like last year we are more confident with the race pace and this year we improve a lot overall.
"So it is a bit disappointing to have a mistake and start in P5, but I think we can still do a good race."
Abu Dhabi GP: Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole ahead of finale
Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Formula 1 world championship decider in Abu Dhabi.
The German outpaced title rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just over three tenths on the first runs in the top-10 shootout.
He then improved on his second run, avoiding the lock-up later in the lap that cost him time on the first.
Although Hamilton also improved, he ended up 0.386 seconds off Rosberg to line up second.
But even if Rosberg wins Sunday’s race, Hamilton need only finish second to be sure of the title.
Williams again looked a potential threat in qualifying but when it came to the fastest runs in Q3, the pace advantage of Mercedes shone through.
Valtteri Bottas ended up third, just over half a second off Rosberg, with team-mate Felipe Massa just behind.
Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel locked out row three, ahead of stablemate Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso entry.
Jenson Button beat the two Ferraris to eighth place, with Kimi Raikkonen ninth after only completing one run in Q3 thanks to having run out of fresh super-softs.
Fernando Alonso, on his Ferrari swansong, was 10th having failed to improve on his second run thanks to locking up and running off the track.
Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren only had one proper run in Q2, likely because of the same underfuelling problem that also forced Button to abandon his first run before setting a laptime.
The Dane had looked set to make the top 10, only for Raikkonen and Kvyat to knock him down to 11th on their final laps.
Jean-Eric Vergne was also knocked down the order in the final seconds, ending up 12th, with the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg behind.
Sauber driver Adrian Sutil was slowest in Q2, falling three tenths short of his Q1 pace.
Romain Grosjean missed out on reaching Q2 by just over two hundredths of a second during a frenetic battle in the final seconds of the first segment of qualifying.
First, Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado moved into a Q2 position before being bumped by Esteban Gutierrez, who was then relegated by Sutil.
Grosjean’s final lap was not quite enough to beat Sutil, leaving him in 16th place, although he will drop to the rear of the field thanks to 20-place penalty for changing power unit components.
Gutierrez ended up 17th, ahead of Maldonado and the two Caterhams.
Kamui Kobayashi’s was the faster of the two green machines, although F1 debutant Will Stevens gave a good account of himself by lapping just over half a second slower despite limited running in the car.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.267s||0.787s|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.893s||1.413s|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.908s||1.428s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.207s||1.727s|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.239s||1.759s|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.384s||1.904s|
Abu Dhabi GP: Nico Rosberg heads Lewis Hamilton in final practice
Nico Rosberg heads into qualifying for the Formula 1 title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as favourite after comfortably beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in final practice.
The German set the fastest time of the weekend so far in the final practice session at the hot and sunny Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
His effort, a 1m41.424s, was 0.7s faster than the Briton’s Friday benchmark and though Hamilton also improved he fell short of Rosberg’s best by 0.369s.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the pace early on, the Spaniard the only supersoft tyre runner for the majority of the session.
Despite ending his session prematurely, getting out of his car with more than 20 minutes to go, his 1m42.653s remained the benchmark until the times started tumbling in the final few minutes of the hour-long session as everyone switched to the supersoft Pirelli tyre.
It was the Williams of Felipe Massa who was first of the remaining runners to switch and he ended up best of the rest behind the Mercedes, albeit over a second slower than Rosberg.
The Brazilian was fourth fastest ahead of the Red Bull of outgoing world champion Sebastian Vettel and the McLaren of Jenson Button. Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was seventh fastest overall in his Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams.
Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Kimi Raikkonen, who struggled throughout with the handling of his Ferrari, completed the top 10.
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.679s||1.255s||19|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.773s||1.349s||14|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.809s||1.385s||20|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.352s||1.928s||20|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.360s||1.936s||19|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.501s||2.077s||18|
Brazilian GP: Kimi Raikkonen much happier with Ferrari F1 car
Kimi Raikkonen says he is much happier with the handling of his Ferrari Formula 1 car so far during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, despite only qualifying 10th.
The Finn has struggled for much of the season with the F14 T, particularly with understeer, and last weekend after the US GP he said he hated the situation he was in with the car.
However, on Saturday at Interlagos, Raikkonen told reporters in the paddock that he was much happier.
"It’s been pleasant to drive the car all weekend," said the 2007 world champion. "That’s a nice thing.
"Obviously to finish 10th is a different story but definitely we have been making some progress on that side.
"This weekend the car has been behaving pretty nicely. It’s been a better feeling, it’s a good point."
Raikkonen said that the race on Sunday would give conclusive answers on if Ferrari has properly solved his difficulties.
"We have to see how it is because we didn’t do long runs yesterday," he said, referring to the red flags in free practice that disrupted a lot of teams’ programmes.
"But it’s been going in the right direction. We had some tyre wear yesterday but I think everyone did with such a hot circuit."
The Finn added that at times he has ended up sacrificing performance in races because he believes it is more important to work through his problems rather than purely focus on results.
"We tried many things this year and it hasn’t worked out," he said. "Probably that has cost us some points.
"But I want to try things and find out. It’s been such a difficult year that I’d rather try things.
"If it doesn’t work out then we pay a price for it and that’s fine."
Raikkonen also played down the different rear suspension set-up he is running compared to team-mate Fernando Alonso this weekend.
"They’re not really new parts, just different things we’ve been running," he said.
"What we have available is not a new design, it’s just trying to run the car differently.
"It’s been pretty good all weekend, and even if we are only 10th there were not really any major issues."
Brazilian GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to pole
Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix, beating Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton by just 33 thousandths of a second.
The two Mercedes drivers engaged in a spectacular battle for pole, with Rosberg having the edge by just 29 thousandths on their first runs in the top 10 shootout.
Hamilton then improved his time on his second and final run, briefly knocking Rosberg off top spot.
But Rosberg, behind him on track, then bagged his 10th pole position of the year seconds later.
This secures Rosberg the inaugural F1 pole position trophy.
Williams did look a potential threat for pole position, but after setting the third and fourth fastest times on their first runs, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas failed to improve at the end – Bottas making a small mistake and Massa’s run delayed by a technical problem in the garage.
Jenson Button capped a great turnaround from McLaren after a difficult time during Friday practice with fifth on the grid ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Button secured that position with his first run, but did not improve on his second attempt.
This allowed Vettel to potentially challenge him, but the German ended up eight thousandths of a second behind despite finding almost half a second on his second run.
The second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen was seventh, just ahead of Fernando Alonso, who completed only one run in Q3.
Daniel Ricciardo had a lacklustre, by his standards, afternoon and will start ninth, just ahead of Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez was bumped out of a top 10 slot in the dying seconds of Q2 when Ricciardo posted his sole flying lap, ending up 11th.
He was almost four tenths faster than Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, who had a lock-up into the Senna S on his best lap, with Adrian Sutil 13th and last of those to run in Q2.
Daniil Kvyat was classified 14th and did not run at all in Q2.
This is because he has to serve a grid penalty, carried over from Austin where he used his 10th internal combustion engine of the season but did not qualify well enough to serve his complete 10-place drop.
Romain Grosjean narrowly missed out on a place in Q2 in the lead Lotus, falling a tenth of a second short of beating Sutil to the all-important 14th place.
Three thousandths of a second behind was Jean-Eric Vergne, who complained variously of understeer and oversteer during Q1.
But his struggles were largely a consequence of the fact he could only complete five laps during Friday practice after handing his car over to Max Verstappen in the morning and then suffering an ERS problem in the afternoon.
Sergio Perez was a quarter of a tenth further back after also suffering a dismal Friday during which he was unable to take to the track following reserve driver Daniel Juncadella’s morning crash.
He has to serve a seven-place grid penalty for wiping out Sutil on the opening lap of last weekend’s United States GP, meaning he will drop behind slowest qualifier Pastor Maldonado.
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m10.938s||0.915s|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.075s||1.052s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m11.976s||-|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.040s||-|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||-|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.076s|
Brazilian GP: Nico Rosberg completes clean sweep in practice
Nico Rosberg will go into Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying as favourite for pole after setting the pace in the final practice session of the Interlagos Formula 1 weekend.
In dry, overcast conditions the German recorded a time just 0.114 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, having also topped both Friday sessions.
The Williams drivers were again best of the rest behind the Mercedes as Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas set the third and fourth quickest times.
But all the teams were anxiously looking at the weather radars as rain is forecast for the afternoon’s qualifying hour.
Hamilton’s session wasn’t without incident, as he locked up and spun under braking for the Senna S early on.
Then at the end of the hour he was baulked by a Lotus in the twisty part of the lap while on a quick run.
Local hero Massa was one of the main pacesetters throughout the session as he and Williams team-mate Bottas traded fastest laptimes, but it was when the Mercedes switched to the softer tyres that they resumed their customary place at the top of the timesheets.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth quickest ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button.
They finished in front of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Dane Kevin Magnussen took ninth overall ahead of Daniil Kvyat who rounded out the top 10.
Sergio Perez was the slowest of the 18 runners, putting in 25 laps following his lack of running on Friday.
He goes into qualifying with a seven-place grid penalty following his first-lap contact with Adrian Sutil at Austin.
He goes into qualifying with a seven-place grid penalty following his first-lap contact with Adrian Sutil at Austin.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.188s||0.742s||11|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m11.834s||1.388s||26|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.967s||1.521s||21|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.235s||1.789s||29|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.324s||1.878s||17|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.942s||2.496s||25|
United States GP – Kimi Raikkonen: “Not ideal positions”
Kimi Raikkonen: “The behaviour of my car was better today than yesterday and I was reasonably happy with the balance, even if I still didn’t manage to put together a good enough lap to be higher up the grid. For some reason, we haven’t managed to fix a problem with the front end. In all sectors of the track the car tends to slide causing a lot of understeer. Unfortunately, this is a very limiting factor and not ideal. But as usual, tomorrow in the race, we will try our best to get the most out of what we have to work with. I am sure that by continuing to work, improving day by day, we will soon find a solution.”
One day we will get it right’ – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says he is still unable to drive the Ferrari as he would want but is hoping a breakthrough will eventually unlock his true speed.
Raikkonen has struggled with a lack of confidence in the Ferrari’s front end all year and has posted a series of disappointing results compared to team-mate Fernando Alonso. At this weekend’s US Grand Prix he qualified ninth, which will become eighth on the grid once Jenson Button’s penalty is applied, and is still suffering the same issue.
"The car doesn’t feel too bad actually, but it’s just pushing on a fast lap when the front starts sliding," he said. "It’s a big problem for me at least and you cannot drive as you want and it’s just pushing and sliding, you are fighting with it every corner. But I don’t know how to fix it."
Raikkonen is sure he would be much higher up the grid if the car behaved the way he wanted it to.
"In the end we have to fix the issue and I can drive as I want and we can go much faster. Until we get the car like this you have to compromise certain things. You would like to drive differently but you cannot because of certain issues. It’s a normal thing and you have to drive the best out of what you have. It’s a compromise and hopefully one day we will get it right and it will all get much easier."
US GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Austin Formula 1 pole
Nico Rosberg claimed his ninth pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season by beating Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
The German outpaced Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.376 seconds after a stunning final flying lap.
Rosberg had the edge over Hamilton on the pair’s first runs in Q3, and he improved by just over two tenths on his second attempt to consolidate his position.
Hamilton was behind Rosberg on the track, so still had his lap to complete, but was unable to improve despite setting the fastest final sector seen in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Felipe Massa by three tenths as Williams annexed the second row, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo making a big improvement on his final run to take fifth.
Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button, although the McLaren driver has to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Kevin Magnussen, in the second McLaren, was eighth, beating Kimi Raikkonen by a tenth of a second.
Adrian Sutil made it through to Q3, the first time a Sauber has reached the top 10 shootout this season.
Unlike the rest of those who reached Q3, Sutil only attempted one run and ended up 10th.
Thanks to the absence of Caterham and Marussia, four drivers were eliminated in each of the first two stages of qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado narrowly missed out on his first Q3 appearance of the season, ending up 11th after losing an estimated two tenths of a second with a slide in the penultimate corner.
Behind him, Sergio Perez jumped Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg with his final flying lap to take 12th.
Daniil Kvyat complained of tyre temperature problems after his out-lap was compromised by traffic and could only manage 14th.
He will also be hit with a 10-place penalty for changing a power unit component, some of which must now be carried over to next weekend’s Brazilian GP.
Jean-Eric Vergne missed out on making Q2 by just five hundredths of a second, the Toro Rosso driver ending up in 15th place ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.
Sebastian Vettel, who completed a single run on soft tyres as he will start from the pits after a sixth power unit was fitted to his Red Bull, was 17th.
Romain Grosjean was slowest having made a mistake on his sole lap on his final run, locking up the front left wheel under braking for the left-hander at the end of the back straight and running off the track.
But even so, the Franco-Swiss driver suspected he would have been unable to advance to the next stage of qualifying because his Lotus was not as competitive as it was during free practice.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.244s||1.177s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.554s||-|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.598s||-|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.250s||-|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.699s||-|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.621s||-|
Button: Five places for gearbox change
Kvyat: Five places for engine component change
Vettel: Pitlane start for taking sixth power unit
US GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in practice, Nico Rosberg troubled
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the final Formula 1 practice session for the United States Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was only fifth fastest based on pace on the slower medium-compound Pirellis, but in the final 10 minutes he bolted on the soft rubber and went fastest by almost nine tenths of a second.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was second fastest having struggled with a brake problem until the closing stages of the session.
After initially lapping 0.884s slower on his first push lap on softs, with Hamilton failing to improve on his second attempt, Rosberg had the chance to close the gap.
He improved in the first and second sectors, but a scruffy final sector meant that Rosberg was only able to find a gain of one thousandth of a second.
With track temperatures relatively low, the session started slowly with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo setting the pace while the field was on the mediums.
He outpaced Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa before the field switched to the softs.
It was the Williams drivers who ended up as best of the rest on qualifying performance, with Massa third fastest ahead of Bottas.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who briefly topped the times after becoming the first frontrunner to set a fast time on softs, ended up fifth ahead of Ricciardo.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, while Adrian Sutil put in a rare Sauber appearance in the top 10 with an impressive eighth fastest.
2007 and ’09 world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button were ninth and 10th, ahead of the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and the lead Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.
Toro Rosso endured a disappointing session, with Daniil Kvyat its quickest driver down in 15th after setting strong times on Friday.
This was possibly down to a loss of power, while team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne’s session was cut short by an engine problem and ended up 17th behind Esteban Gutierrez.
Sebastian Vettel was slowest, having focused on race set-up work because he will start from the pitlane following the introduction of his sixth power unit.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.927s||1.820s||16|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.960s||1.853s||20|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.582s||2.475s||21|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.688s||2.581s||19|
|17||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.443s||4.336s||12|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.765s||6.658s||25|