I was the first training session Lewis Hamilton still clearly back. Since then he has turned the picture in his favor. As on Friday afternoon, the world champion delivered a top performance on Saturday morning - including a clear best time.
Hamilton clearly ahead of Verstappen and Rosberg
In his Mercedes W07, Hamilton circled the ten right and left five left turns by Sepang in 1: 34.434 minutes. It's the best lap of the weekend so far. Hamilton undercut Friday time by half a second. After the third practice session, the world champion is the big favorite for pole position. The competition was far behind.
Nico Rosberg let himself go 0.619 seconds. If things continue like this in qualifying, the championship leader will have to check off his eighth pole of the season. Rosberg's personally fastest track was not even enough for the direct pursuit position, but only for third place. But it also looked like Rosberg didn't get his lap together optimally. At least the first sector was comparatively weak. And the middle section also left a mystery.
Max Verstappen slipped into the Mercedes sandwich. The 19-year-old made a strong impression in his Red Bull on Friday - but only on the long runs. On one lap, Red Bull only got the tires to work in the last sector. The world championship troops from 2010 to 2013 seem to have solved this problem overnight. Verstappen finished his run on soft tires in second place (+ 0.445 seconds).
Daniel Ricciardo continues to fight with his car. After the impressions from the third training session, the setup of the RB12 is still not where the Australian would like it to be. The result: sixth place with almost six tenths behind Verstappen.
Ferrari, which lined up behind Mercedes yesterday, fell back slightly. Kimi Räikkönen was a touch faster than Sebastian Vettel and finished fourth. The Scuderia shouldn't like the fact that Red Bull has added one lap. If the trend is confirmed in qualifying and the race, it will be difficult for Ferrari to make up points on Red Bull in the constructors' championship.
Force India has so far been the fourth fastest car in Sepang. That's what the team leader says. And this is confirmed by the drivers on the racetrack. This time in the person of Nico Hülkenberg. In VJM09 thelong Rhinelander the seventh position. So he was “Best of the rest” behind the three top teams. Team-mate Sergio Perez did worse. The Mexican ended up in eleventh place outside the top 10.
Williams, who are fighting against Force India for fourth place in the Team World Cup, are uphill after a poor performance on Friday. Both Valtteri Bottas (8th) and Felipe Massa (10th) crawled into the top ten. McLaren-Honda flew out and Carlos Sainz moved in. Fernando Alonso was even last. The McLaren fans don't have to worry. The Spaniard focused on racing simulations in Malaysia on Saturday morning. Garage neighbor Jenson Button took twelfth place.
Wehrlein with problems
Pascal Wehrlein often complained about his car in the session. “I have problems with the engine,” was one of his radio messages. So it was only enough for the penultimate place. Behind Esteban Ocon. Both Sauber and Renault seem out of reach for Manor this weekend.