PUTTING UP A FIGHT: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg showed Lewis Hamilton he has to work extra hard for the title for Sunday's finale at the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP. Image: AFP/Thomas Kienzle
ABU DHABI, UAE - Nico Rosberg turned the tables on Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton with the fastest lap in Saturday's (Nov 22) final practice for the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the satisfaction was limited.
Rosberg needs to win on Sunday and hope championship leader Hamilton is out of the top two, but there was still no sign of a candidate stepping up to the plate with Mercedes again in a class of their own.
Hamilton was 0.369 of a second off Rosberg's pace, after leading both Friday sessions, while third placed Brazilian Felipe Massa was more than a second slower than the German in his Williams.
Rosberg's best lap was 1min41.424.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, preparing for his last race with the Italian team was fourth quickest on another hot afternoon at Yas Marina with his 2015 replacement Sebastian Vettel fifth for Red Bull.
Qualifying for the day-to-night race starts later with Rosberg, 17 points behind Hamilton but with double points on offer, chasing his 11th pole of the season. Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP finale this weekend.
3rd Final Free Practice session from the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min41.424
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min41.793
3 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1min42.429
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min42.653
5 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - Renault 1min42.679
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min42.768
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - Renault 1min42.773
8 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1min42.794
9 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min42.809
10 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min43.038
11 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1min43.112
12 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min43.352
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1min43.360
14 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1min43.501
15 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1min43.643
16 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault 1min43.718
17 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1min43.778
18 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1min44.022
19 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 1min45.044
20 Will Stevens (Britain) Caterham - Renault 1min45.959