Abu Dhabi GP: Nico Rosberg fastest in final practice

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Yas Marina
Nico Rosberg
Live text and TV coverage of qualifying from 12:00 GMT
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Venue: Yas Marina Circuit Dates: 27-29 November
Coverage: Live BBC TV, radio and text coverage of the race. Full details here.

Nico Rosberg headed Lewis Hamilton in final practice in Abu Dhabi after two errors by the world champion.

Rosberg was 0.281 seconds quicker after Hamilton had a spin and made a mistake at Turn Six on two separate laps.

Hamilton's errors meant his tyres were not at their best when he set his fastest time, but Rosberg showed his form by improving on his second lap.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, 0.281secs behind Rosberg but only 0.048secs off Hamilton's time.

Daniil Kvyatt
Daniil Kvyat's car had an electrical fault during final practice

Hamilton seemed to have the pace to go fastest of all - he had set the fastest first-sector time on his first lap on the super-soft tyres that will be used in qualifying only to run wide over the kerbs at Turn Six.

He had spun at the same corner after getting too far on to the kerbs earlier in the session when running the soft tyres during race preparation work.

The champion did complete a second flying lap on the tyres and his time of one minute 42.137 seconds beat Rosberg's first lap time of 1:42.196, but the German registered 1:41.856 on his second lap.

Shortly afterwards Rosberg blocked Hamilton, which may increase the needle between the pair.

Rosberg said on Friday that he would be handicapped this weekend by an engine that is higher on mileage than Hamilton's.

Inside F1: Abu Dhabi Friday practice

But Mercedes say the difference is more related to the amount of time the drivers can spend in various engine settings, rather than ultimate performance.

Force India's Sergio Perez was fourth fastest, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, whose team-mate Danill Kvyat did not set a time as a result of a car problem.

Jenson Button was an encouraging 11th fastest for McLaren-Honda, just 1.6secs off the pace, while team-mate Fernando Alonso was down in 16th after being held up in the final part of his flying lap.

Alonso asked his engineer for the identity of the two drivers in front of him at the time. After being told it was Manor's Will Stevens and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, Alonso responded: "Idiots."

Qualifying, which is live across the BBC, is at 17:00 local time (13:00 GMT).

Full practice results

Abu Dhabi GP coverage details

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC