MONTMELO – Nico Rosberg sent out a warning to Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton ahead of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix by finishing at the top of the timesheets in final practice.
Rosberg posted the fastest time on both tire compounds, finishing the session in P1 with a quickest lap of 1:26.021 ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in second place.
The early prime tire runs during FP3 saw Rosberg set the pace for Mercedes, going almost two-tenths of a second faster than Hamilton in the sister car, whilst Ferrari found itself a further half a second back before making the switch over to the option compound.
Although the Italian marque managed to cut the gap down to less than 0.2 seconds on the medium tire, it was unable to overhaul Rosberg at the top of the timesheets. Hamilton had been gunning to match his teammate’s time, only to lock up in the final sector and drop down to third on the final timesheets behind Rosberg and Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas finally proved Williams’ pace by finishing fourth, six-tenths behind Rosberg, whilst Kimi Raikkonen lagged home in fifth place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa.
Following setbacks on Ricciardo’s car on Friday, it was Daniil Kyvat’s turn to take a hit at Red Bull. The Russian suffered a water leak on his car at the start of the session, restricting him to only running in the final 20 minutes.
Lotus also endured a difficult FP3 on Friday morning, with Romain Grosjean complaining over setup problems on his car has he finished outside of the top ten. Hamilton also made a rare mistake, spinning at turn three halfway through the session after running wide onto the astroturf.
Continuing its good form from Friday, Toro Rosso got both of its drivers inside the top ten once again as Max Verstappen finished eighth ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in tenth. Kvyat split the duo in P9.
With Rosberg topping two of the three practice sessions so far this weekend, the German will be hoping to carry this good form into qualifying and end Hamilton’s perfect pole position record in 2015.
You can watch qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix live on CNBC from 8am ET.