TOPS IN PRACTICE: Nico Rosberg is back in the fight to win the last race of the 2015 season in Abu Dhabi. Image: AFP / Mark Thompson
Abu Dhabi -Nico Rosberg bounced back on Friday(November 27) to outpace Mercedes team mate and newly-crowned three-times world champion Lewis Hamilton in the second free practice session for Sunday's Abu Dhabi GP.
The 30-year-old German, who is seeking his sixth straight pole and hoping to complete a hat-trick of successive wins, was one-tenth of a second faster than the Briton as the pair scrapped for honours ahead of the last race of the season.
Rosberg clocked a best lap in 1min41.983sec, ahead of Hamilton who recorded 1min42.121 with Sergio Perez third for Force India, four-tenths adrift of Hamilton, in hot conditions at the Yas Marina circuit.
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull, who earlier confirmed they have agreed a deal for an unnamed engine for the 2016 season, ahead of four-times champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Daniil Kvyat in the second Red Bull.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh in the second Ferrari ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India and, surprisingly, two-times champion Fernando Alonso in his McLaren-Honda.
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado was 10th for Lotus, whose participation in the event was only confirmed after F1 commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone paid their expenses. The struggling Lotus team is expected to be taken over by Renault for next season.
Earlier in the day, Hamilton had topped the opening free practice session and given an on-track answer to his critics after negative comments were made about his lifestyle.
2015 Abu Dhabi GP 2nd practice results
1. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1min41.983
2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1min42.121
3. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1min42.610
4. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1min42.647
5. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 1min42.717
6. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Red Bull 1min42.798
7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1min42.849
8. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1min42.928
9. Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren 1min42.955
10. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus 1min43.431
11. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1min43.441
12. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1min43.506
13. Max Verstappen (NED) Toro Rosso 1min43.662
14. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Toro Rosso 1min43.854
15. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1min43.929
16. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1min44.050
17. Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber AG 1min44.116
18. Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber AG 1min45.245
19. Will Stevens (GBR) Marussia 1min46.450
20. Roberto Merhi (ESP) Marussia 1min47.022