Nico Rosberg pulled one back against Lewis Hamilton in the final practice session of this season, 0.369s quicker than his team-mate at the Yas Marina circuit.
Neither of the Mercedes drivers were in a rush to get the show going given the conditions in FP3 were easily 20’C hotter than what they would experience later in qualifying.
Taking almost half the session to post a time, Hamilton and Rosberg slotted into third and fourth places respectively, behind the supersoft tyre time of Fernando Alonso and the time set on the softs by Valtteri Bottas.
Rosberg improved to take the lead with a 1:42.635 while Hamilton followed his team-mate up the order but was 0.128s off the pace.
Swapping to the supersofts for the final 15 minutes of practice – the last practice of the season – Rosberg upped his pace to a 1:41.424. Hamilton’s effort was hampered slightly by a slide through the final corner and he crossed the line 0.369s down.
The Championship protagonists had another go at it but neither improved their overall time. They finished first and second ahead of Felipe Massa, who was 1.005s down.
Alonso was fourth despite another aborted practice. The Spaniard, who missed the bulk of FP2 with an electrical problem, was quickly into the action on Saturday afternoon, covering eight laps that included a brief stint on the supersoft tyres, before heading back into the pits for a new engine.
The new unit is one of his allocated for the season and therefore does not come with a penalty attached.
Sebastian Vettel brought his RB10 home in fifth place ahead of Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas.
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:41.424 18 laps
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.793 +0.369 16 laps
03 Felipe Massa Williams 1:42.429 +1.005 17 laps
04 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:42.653 +1.229 8 laps
05 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:42.679 +1.255 18 laps
06 Jenson Button McLaren 1:42.768 +1.344 18 laps
07 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:42.773 +1.349 13 laps
08 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:42.794 +1.370 18 laps
09 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:42.809 +1.385 19 laps
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:43.038 +1.614 13 laps
11 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:43.112 +1.688 12 laps
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:43.352 +1.928 19 laps
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:43.360 +1.936 18 laps
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:43.501 +2.077 17 laps
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.643 +2.219 23 laps
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:43.718 +2.294 17 laps
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:43.778 +2.354 17 laps
18 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:44.022 +2.598 21 laps
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:45.044 +3.620 15 laps
20 Will Stevens Marussia 1:45.959 +4.535 20 laps