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Nico Rosberg has beaten an erratic Lewis Hamilton to the top of the timesheets in a more closely-matched third free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the world champion suffering two offs during the hour session.

Fastest on the first day of action around the Yas Marina Circuit, despite complaining of losing speed on the straights due to the use of an older Mercedes engine than his team-mate, Rosberg was nonetheless on point using the super soft tyres, stopping the clock at 1min 41.856secs.

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Though the mid-afternoon FP3 session isn't considered so representative for this evening's qualifying due to the track temperatures, Rosberg will take added confidence over Hamilton after the Englishman suffered a spin at turn five early on before going off on the exit of the same corner whilst on his first super-soft lap.

His second lap on the tyres would see him fall almost three tenths short of his team-mate and only one tenth up on Sebastian Vettel, who showed a more convincing turn of pace for Ferrari compared with Friday, despite also having a wild moment at turn one.

Confirming the impressive pace shown in FP2, Sergio Perez was once again up there for Force India in fourth position, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo, the top six all within a second of Rosberg's top time.

Nico Hulkenberg ended the session seventh best, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas showing solid overnight gains for Williams in eighth and ninth positions respectively. Having missed part of FP2 due to technical issues, Carlos Sainz recovered to set the tenth best time.

Despite sounding pessimistic after FP2, Jenson Button gave McLaren another boost in 11th position, ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Nasr.

Meanwhile, Daniil Kvyat failed to make it out on track at all after suffering electrical problems with his Red Bull.