The final weekend practice session of the season got underway in the searing heat of Yas Marina. Going into the session, Lewis Hamilton had led Rosberg in the previous two practices. However, it wasn’t Hamilton who came out on top, nor was it Rosberg.
The session had a number of notable points. Firstly, there were clear issues at Torro Rosso, who both finished in the bottom 6 places, with Sainz in 18th and Kvyat in 21st. They both had suspension problems causing a spin for Sainz and numerous lock ups for Kvyat. Lewis Hamilton also experienced problems, not with suspension, but the engine failing to provide the power. It was a fault with the hybrid system, causing all energy to be harvested rather than being converted into pace. Both Mercedes’ also complained of unbalanced brakes, both changing direction under braking.
It was Sebastien Vettel who topped the session, with Verstappen and Raikkonen behind. You have to look to P4 and 5 to find Hamilton and Rosberg. Verstappen’s teammate Ricciardo sat in P6, with the Force India’s of Perez and Hulkenberg in P7 and P8 respectively. The Williams looked once again inferior to their title rivals over at Force India, shown by Bottas occupying P9 and Massa a disappointing P14. Gutierrez finished in P10, ahead of Alonso, Palmer and Button. In 15th was Grosjean, with Magnussen just behind.
Pascal Wehrlein continued to impress, with a finishing position of 17th in the Manor, his teammate Ocon managing only 20th. The Sauber’s of Nasr and Ericsson sit in 19th and 22nd ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying. Can Vettel see out a good Saturday and start tomorrow on the front row, or will Rosberg get a good start on his title defence and take pole? I guess we’ll find out in Qualifying!
Image: Conroe Courier