Championship leader Nico Rosberg set the pace in final Formula 1 practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, but Ferrari remained hot on Mercedes’ heels ahead of qualifying.
The German clocked a 1m23.078s with his first flying lap of the day on the soft tires and that remained unbeaten in the one-hour session. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was just 0.126s adrift with Sebastian Vettel proving Ferrari’s pace with a time just 0.147s slower than Rosberg.
On their qualifying simulations, Hamilton and Vettel set fastest first and second sectors but both lost time in the final sector.
Rosberg abandoned his first attempt at a late qualifying run on the soft tires when his car went into protective limp mode. Mercedes found it was a sensor problem and resolved it in time to get him out for the final few minutes of the session.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen outperformed teammate Daniel Ricciardo on his first weekend with the team as he went fourth quickest. The teenager, who swapped places with Daniil Kvyat, was 0.641s off the pace, just under a tenth ahead of Ricciardo.
Kimi Raikkonen was sixth ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez, who said on Friday the Force India had improved “everywhere” following an update.
Kvyat, in his first weekend back with Toro Rosso, was quicker than teammate Carlos Sainz Jr in ninth with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completing the top 10.
Nico Hulkenberg was 11th, ahead of Felipe Massa with Romain Grosjean the leading Haas in 14th place.
Jenson Button failed to set a lap time until the second half of the session and ultimately ended the morning 15th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Gutierrez.
Jolyon Palmer was 18th ahead of the two Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson and the Manor duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.641s||10|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.738s||9|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.394s||15|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1.475s||13|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1.507s||15|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1.617s||21|