Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014

Mercedes ahead by a second in final practice

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix third practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Mercedes stamped their authority over proceedings in Sepang, lapping over a second faster than their rivals in the final practice session.

Nico Rosberg led the way, setting the fastest lap of the weekend so far with a 1’39.008 on medium tyres, almost a second quicker than he managed yesterday.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton, who had been quicker earlier in the session while running on the harder compound, lapped just over two tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

Several drivers complained of poor grip conditions on the track in the final session and most failed to improve on their Friday lap times. But the Mercedes drivers gained as much as nine tenths of a second, revealing the extent to which they had concealed their pace yesterday.

Kimi Raikkonen consistently led the charge of Mercedes’ rivals but ended the session 1.1 seconds slower than Rosberg in third place.

Behind the Ferrari driver the gaps were much closer. Sebastian Vettel set the best time for a Renault-powered car, three-tenths of a second faster than team mate Daniel Ricciardo, the pair separated by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

Both Williams drivers and the second Force India of Sergio Perez also featured in the top ten.

However it was a disastrous session for McLaren, with both drivers failing to set a representative time. Kevin Magnussen pitted with an engine problem soon after joining the track. Although McLaren got him back on the track later in the session he suffered a repeat of the same problem, which could jeopardise his participation in qualifying.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’39.008 13
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’39.240 0.232 13
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’40.156 1.148 13
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’40.387 1.379 14
5 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’40.523 1.515 15
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’40.686 1.678 14
7 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.736 1.728 14
8 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’40.781 1.773 20
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’40.891 1.883 20
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’41.029 2.021 15
11 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’41.182 2.174 18
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’41.441 2.433 18
13 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.552 2.544 15
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.041 3.033 17
15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’42.749 3.741 16
16 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’43.539 4.531 20
17 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’43.977 4.969 16
18 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’44.170 5.162 18
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’44.457 5.449 12
20 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’46.015 7.007 7
21 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2’05.555 26.547 4
22 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 5

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.028 1’39.909 1’39.008 -0.901 62
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’40.691 1’40.051 1’39.240 -0.811 64
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’40.843 1’39.944 1’40.156 +0.212 63
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’41.523 1’39.970 1’40.387 +0.417 53
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.923 1’40.103 1’40.736 +0.633 57
6 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’41.686 1’40.112 1’40.781 +0.669 77
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’42.117 1’40.276 1’40.686 +0.41 63
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’41.642 1’40.691 1’40.523 -0.168 68
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.111 1’40.628 2’05.555 +24.927 52
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’41.830 1’40.638 1’40.891 +0.253 77
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’41.402 1’40.777 1’41.441 +0.664 66
12 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.274 1’41.014 43
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’41.671 1’41.029 -0.642 42
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’42.869 1’41.325 1’41.182 -0.143 71
15 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.365 1’41.257 1’41.552 +0.295 64
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.904 1’41.407 1’42.041 +0.634 74
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’42.531 1’42.749 +0.218 34
18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’43.539 22
19 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’46.911 1’43.638 1’43.977 +0.339 46
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’43.825 1’43.752 1’44.170 +0.418 65
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’45.775 1’45.703 1’44.457 -1.246 67
22 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’51.180 1’46.015 -5.165 17

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

20 comments on “Mercedes ahead by a second in final practice”

  1. most team banking on wet weather setup which is apparent looking at the speed trap figure of each sector.

    Merc seems to be banging on weather staying dry.

  2. Wet qualifying + Lewis Hamilton on pole :D

  3. Apart from a Mercedes front row being very likely, its hard to predict much. Will McLaren even be able to run in Quali? And how much are RBR and maybe Ferrari keeping back?.

    Off course we could have rain in an hour or during qualifying, making it more of a gamble than anything.

  4. Time for me to have my say on the whole engine debate and I’ve waited a while to do this.

    Anybody complaining about the lack of engine noise is whining basically. By losing the volume of the engine, you learn how much noise you were actually missing out on before.

    You gain so much more immersion as a viewer now, hearing everything that is going on with the car: the lockups, tyre squeels, marbles, bumps and even the car bottoming out. I actually feel we were robbed by the sound of the previous engines of all these intimate sounds.

    And on top of all these intimate sounds, you get all the atmospherics now too.

    Instead of the cars bullishly dominating their surroundings with a body shaking sound, you now get to see and hear the challenges they face. It is truly fantastic.

    1. @djdaveyp87 – Well said, good points.

      Over the many years of F1 there have been many different engine sounds. There is not just one F1 noise and never has been. It has changed over the years, more as a function of the engine than at the whim of waffling perpetual motor mouth promoters.

      1. @bullmello

        There is not just one F1 noise and never has been.

        Murray Walker? :p

    2. I liked the loud V8s more for the live experience, as a TV viewer, I got agree with you that these quiet PUs can offer a different and quite pleasant acoustic experience.

    3. I love and hate the new engine sound.

      I hate it because is doesn’t have that high pitched high rpm scream synonymous with F1. I love it because I can hear so many other sounds that were drowned out before. (as you have stated)

      So I average out in the middle. Both sides have their pros and cons, and by the end of the season I won’t notice a difference anymore.

  5. After FP3 is clear that QUALI will be boring;\ The winner is clear it’ll be MERC 1-2 (either HAM or ROS will win).
    The lead is hudge there’s no one near to MERC. So that race would become a bit interesting I hope that MERC will be mercilles on their tyres and then other teams will have a chance to challenge them.

  6. Only team to take a big leap, very impressive considering that this was achieved primarily in the 1st and last sector.

    1. A strong indication that they were sandbagging and being conservative on their engines on Friday. Then morphing into Red Bull and unleashing a statement of intent in FP3.

      Qualifying seems to be a foregone conclusion in the dry, but should it rain (like most are predicting), I think we will see that 1 second gap reduced.

  7. Is Red Bull being powered by an upgraded PU version that other Renault powered cars don’t have or the car is just that good?

    1. Red Bull are towards the bottom of the speed traps, The cars just very good aerodynamically.

      1. So as expected, the day Renault gets on top of whatever is keeping them behind, Red Bull will make Mercedes life a little bit harder…

        1. Not to mention circuits like Monaco, where top speed isn’t very important.

    2. @jcost who knows? What I see and has been confirmed by people at Mercedes the Renault engine has good power when running at full pace, so let’s wait for the qualifying to see if they can get close the gap on the straight line deficit.

  8. Hulkenberg again sticks his neck out and shows he has speed, while Kimi seems to have found something Fernado can’t, Daniel is keeping Seb in check, the Williams cars do the most laps at a decent paces hacks in distance with a slow going Lotus driven by one of their drivers from last yr. I Like it!

    1. well said. Battle between team mates, especially in teams that matter seems to be much more evenly poised and unpredictable than the previous years – HAM-ROS, RAI-ALO, VET-RIC, BUT-MAG, MAS-BOT can all go either way which is really interesting for a viewer. There is no clear faster or better driver within any of these teams

  9. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    29th March 2014, 7:52

    I’m not sure if Red Bull were not running at full power in FP3, but, they were almost 20kph slower at the speed trap than Mercedes… errr. Wow.

  10. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    29th March 2014, 8:40

    anyone, please: what happens if qualy cannot take place? how is it defined who gets which position?

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