Nico Rosberg closed out practice for the Spanish Grand Prix with the fastest time despite suffering an engine scare towards the end of the 60-minute session on Saturday morning.
Rosberg arrived in Barcelona with a healthy 43-point buffer at the top of the drivers’ championship, and has set himself up well for an eighth successive Formula 1 victory on Sunday by finishing fastest in FP3.
A quickest lap of 1:23.078 was enough to give Rosberg P1 at the end of the session, but he was fortunate to hold onto top spot after suffering an engine scare.
Mercedes has suffered a number of issues with its power unit so far this season, and when Rosberg’s car switched into ‘limp home’ mode, the team appeared to have been hit with a problem yet again.
However, it turned out to only be a sensor issue, allowing Mercedes to send Rosberg back out with a few minutes remaining in the session.
In the second Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton was forced to settle for P2, finishing narrowly behind his teammate. Sebastian Vettel led Ferrari’s charge in P3, less than two-tenths of a second down on Rosberg after losing time in the final sector.
Max Verstappen enjoyed an impressive final practice ahead of his first qualifying and race for Red Bull, finishing fourth overall ahead of new teammate Daniel Ricciardo in P5. Kimi Raikkonen ended the session sixth for Ferrari after hitting traffic on his fastest lap.
Valtteri Bottas led Williams’ charge in seventh ahead of Sergio Perez, who continued to put the updated Force India to good use in eighth place. Daniil Kvyat appeared more at ease with the Toro Rosso in FP3 following his return to the team, finishing ninth ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in P10.
Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday.