Updated: Saturday, 10 May 2014 18:45 | By Agence France-Presse

Rosberg on top as Hamilton eases off

Nico Rosberg responded to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton's supremacy on Friday by topping the times in Saturday morning's third and final free practice session ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Rosberg on top as Hamilton eases off

Mercedes-AMG's German driver Nico Rosberg drives during the second practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix on May 9, 2014 - by Josep Lago

On a warm spring day at the Circuit de Catalunya, where the temperature rose past 22 degrees celsius, the championship-leading 28-year-old German clocked a best lap in one minute and 25.887 seconds.

Hamilton, winner of the last three races and second behind Rosberg in the title race, was second-fastest, eight-tenths of a second down on his Mercedes partner

But the 2008 world champion's time was not a true reflection of his speed as he chose not to show his hand on the softer tyres in the final stages of the session and, after a fastest time in the middle section of the lap, chose to pit rather than clock a lap.

Local hero and two-time champion Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari ahead of his friend and former team-mate, Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fifth for Lotus ahead of Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen of McLaren and seventh-placed Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the leading Red Bull car.

Briton Jenson Button, world champion in 2009, was eighth for McLaren ahead of Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in the second Williams and, mysteriously, defending four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

Vettel had missed nearly all of Friday practice after suffering an electrical problem.

The session was mostly incident-free other than the sight of Briton Max Chilton running off the track in his Marussia and into a gravel trap at turn five, for the second time this weekend.

Earlier in the day, the struggling Caterham team – whose drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were 21st and 22nd fastest -- confirmed they had "parted company" with technical director Mark Smith.

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