Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat was one of three other men to get within a second of Hamilton around the Yas Marina Circuit, as he edged out the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel for fourth place, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh in the sister Red Bull, followed by Force India’s Sergio Perez, with Williams’ Felipe Massa completing the top ten.
It was Rosberg who set the initial pace with 1m 44.626s, as Hamilton worked down to 1m 45.949s in between asking questions about his rear wing setting, seating position and steering wheel. When both were running at comparable pace, Hamilton went ahead with 1m 43.996s before Rosberg trimmed that to 1m 43.895s.
Later Hamilton was able to improve to 1m 43.754s before going down the escape road in the chicane while trying to go quicker, but Rosberg’s chances were stymied by a long brake pedal and then being told to pit because of low pressure in his left rear tyre.
The Silver Arrows were ultimately 0.746s ahead of their opposition, which was led by Raikkonen’s Ferrari. The Finn lapped in 1m 44.500s, to head Kvyat’s Red Bull on 1m 44.702s, Vettel’s Ferrari on 1m 44.742s and Hulkenberg’s Force India on 1m 44.751s.
Like Rosberg, Vettel ran wide in the final sector early on and had a bitty session, not recording a time for the first 45 minutes.
Ricciardo, running the same, older-specification Renault engine as Kvyat, was seventh on 1m 44.893s with Perez in the second Force India on his tail with 1m 44.934s.
It was a relatively uneventful session. Fernando Alonso complained of power loss in his McLaren as he lapped a tenth off team mate Jenson Button, while Jolyon Palmer missed all but the final 12 minutes because of a water leak on his Lotus. Trying to improve on 18th place, he spun at Turn 18 right at the end, without hitting anything.