Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, putting Mercedes on top of the times by over four tenths of a second.
The German waited until the final moments of the session to complete a lap using Pirelli's medium tires, setting the fastest time of the weekend to that point with a 1m36.877s.
The Mercedes driver was followed by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who seemed to enjoy a better session than on Friday. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean completed the top five for the Lotus team, with Jenson Button in sixth and Pastor Maldonado in seventh with the Williams.
Yesterday's pacesetter Lewis Hamilton had to settle for ninth position after managing just eight laps following the only significant incident of the session, which saw him go off track at Turn 14. Ferrari had another low-key session, with Fernando Alonso down in 13th and teammate Felipe Massa in 18th.
Although light rain hit the circuit minutes before final practice kicked off, the start took place on a mostly dry track, but some damp patches made the early part of the session very slow as teams decided not to venture out.
With a track temperature of around 86 degrees, all drivers completed their installation laps right away, but no one set a time until Bruno Senna completed the first full round of Sepang over 20 minutes into the session.
The Brazilian lowered the benchmark over the following laps and managed to stay on top for a few minutes while other drivers completed their first runs.
Grosjean moved to the top of the times at the 28-minute mark with a lap of 1m40.239s, with team-mate Raikkonen slotting himself in second. On his following lap, the Frenchman was the first man to go below the 1m40s mark, and again was followed by Raikkonen, the Lotus duo staying on top until Senna went fastest again just seconds later.
Vettel jumped to first place with the first lap in the 1m38s with some 26 minutes left, only for team-mate Webber to improve on that when he completed his first run an instant later.
Hamilton was one of the last men to try to set a time, but the Briton lost control of his car at Turn 14 on his flying lap and ended up in the gravel. He managed to return to the track and drove straight into the pits, leaving him as the only man without a lap time.
Webber had no such problems though, and the Australian went even quicker to post the fastest time of the weekend so far: 1m38.145s. With less than 20 minutes left, Vettel set a new benchmark by outpacing his team-mate by less than a tenth of a second.
Maldonado then jumped to the top with the first lap of the weekend in the 1m37s, the Venezuelan going over half a second faster than Vettel.
After several minutes of frantic work by the McLaren mechanics, Hamilton returned to the track with 10 minutes remaining, but the Briton needed just one lap to move into second position using Pirelli's medium tires as all the drivers took to the track for the last five minutes of action.
Hamilton's teammate Button and seconds later Red Bull driver Vettel took to the top of the times before Rosberg managed the first lap of the weekend in the 1m36s to put the Mercedes in first by over four tenths of a second over the reigning champion.
At the bottom of the times, both HRT drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan lapped within the 107 percent of the fastest time.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.877 16
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.320s + 0.443 15
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.338s + 0.461 12
4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.356s + 0.479 13
5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.382s + 0.505 13
6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.404s + 0.527 12
7. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.455s + 0.578 13
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m37.663s + 0.786 15
9. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.776s + 0.899 8
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.977s + 1.100 17
11. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m38.091s + 1.214 20
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.178s + 1.301 15
13. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.246s + 1.369 17
14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.285s + 1.408 16
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.423s + 1.546 13
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.640s + 1.763 11
17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.794s + 1.917 18
18. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m39.20$s + 2.332 16
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m39.704s + 2.827 15
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.189s + 3.312 14
21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.901s + 5.024 14
22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.007s + 5.130 14
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.464s + 5.587 14
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m43.378s + 6.501 17
All Timing Unofficial