Rosberg top from Vettel in close FP3

© XPB 

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of final practice for the Spanish Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel split the two Mercedes' in qualifying trim.

Having admitted he needed to work on his one-lap pace following second practice, Rosberg set the pace with a 1:26.021 on medium tyres in the final session. He followed Vettel over the line on their qualifying-spec runs, with Vettel's time leaving him just 0.156s adrift of the Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton was third quickest after a scruffy lap saw him lock up in the final chicane and end up 0.201s adrift of his team-mate. Hamilton's session was a messy one, as he made a mistake at Turn 3 and ran slightly wide on to the run-off area, pitching him in to a high-speed spin. The defending world champion did well to control the car after losing the rear end and kept it out of the wall, with just four heavily flat-spotted tyres to show for the incident.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth as Williams again showed a big step forward on Saturday morning, beating his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen who was fifth in the second Ferrari. Bottas was 0.6s off the pace but Raikkonen's lap of 1:26.944 was 0.8s slower than his team-mate, hinting he has more to come.

Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a difficult day on Friday to set the sixth fastest time on Saturday morning, a second adrift of Rosberg. Red Bull appears to have made a step forward with its updated RB11 this weekend and may be able to challenge the Williams cars in qualifying.

Behind Ricciardo were Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen as Toro Rosso's strong weekend continued, with Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz completing the top ten.

Jenson Button was 11th for McLaren, with the MP4-30 appearing more competitive in Spain but a spot in Q3 looking a tall order as he was half a second away from Sainz. Team-mate Fernando Alonso was only 14th fastest after a mistake at the final chicane on his medium-tyre lap, with Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Nasr splitting the two McLarens.

Click here for Friday's gallery from the Spanish Grand Prix

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.021 19
02 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.177 14
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.222 10
04 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:26.682 19
05 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.944 14
06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:27.048 19
07 Felipe Massa Williams 1:27.109 19
08 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:27.132 18
09 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:27.313 7
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:27.809 17
11 Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.938 17
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:28.082 13
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:28.096 23
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:28.304 17
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:28.578 17
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:28.618 18
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:28.788 20
18 Sergio Perez Force India 1:28.996 14
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:31.125 16
20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:31.749 17