A late run from Nico Rosberg was enough to propel the Mercedes pilot to the top of the timesheets in the final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Despite spending the opening third of the session garage bound with an oil leak, Rosberg still managed some solid running, completing 16 laps before the chequered flag flew.
Indeed, Rosberg missed precious little action. Spitting rain at the very beginning of practice made the circuit surface somewhat treacherous for a time, as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton found to his cost thanks to wild slide at the difficult turn fourteen.
Rosberg’s best time – 1:36.877 – was a clear half-second quicker than next man Sebastian Vettel, with the reigning champion heading a gaggle of eight cars, all covered by a further four-tenths. Vettel nabbed just clear of Red Bull teammate Mark Webber and both Lotus’.
Jenson Button (McLaren) rounded out the top six, some five-hundredths clear of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, who set some impressive times on the Pirelli hard compound tyres. The Venezuelan was fastest for a time, before eventually being demoted by the end of session runners.
Michael Schumacher assumed 8th, three-quarters-of-a-second shy of Rosberg; however the veteran stayed ahead of Hamilton (9th) who managed only a single fast lap following his earlier spin. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi ended the session 10th in his Ferrari-powered C31 machine.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.877 16 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.320s + 0.443 15 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.338s + 0.461 12 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.356s + 0.479 13 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.382s + 0.505 13 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.404s + 0.527 12 7. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.455s + 0.578 13 8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m37.663s + 0.786 15 9. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.776s + 0.899 8 10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.977s + 1.100 17 11. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m38.091s + 1.214 20 12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.178s + 1.301 15 13. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.246s + 1.369 17 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.285s + 1.408 16 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.423s + 1.546 13 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.640s + 1.763 11 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.794s + 1.917 18 18. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m39.20$s + 2.332 16 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m39.704s + 2.827 15 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.189s + 3.312 14 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.901s + 5.024 14 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.007s + 5.130 14 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.464s + 5.587 14 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m43.378s + 6.501 17 ^Notes compiled from live updates and team releases