Nico Rosberg was fastest in both Friday practice sessions in preparation for the penultimate race on the F1 calendar; the Brazilian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton was 2nd on both occasions and was always within 3 tenths of his team-mate. A number of cars seemed to show potential including Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
Rosberg topped the first practice session by 2 tenths of a second over team-mate Lewis Hamilton. His time of 1’12.764 was just 3 tenths shy of the last dry weather pole position in 2012. Only 2 other drivers were within a second of the Mercedes duo, with Daniil Kvyat being a surprise in 3rd place ahead of Fernando Alonso. The Russian rookie is preparing for his transition to the Red Bull senior team when he replaces Sebastian Vettel next year. Fernando Alonso was 4th fastest and was the last man within a second of Rosberg.
Felipe Massa was 5th fastest for Williams at his home circuit ahead of the impressive Max Verstappen. Max was making his 3rd practice appearance in Jean-Eric Vergne’s car prior to his appointment to a race seat next year. He managed to set the 6th fastest time of the session and was just over a second slower than Rosberg. He was one of 3 drivers making practice appearances this weekend as newly signed Sauber driver Felipe Nasr had another outing in Bottas’ Williams and Spaniard Daniel Juncadella took to Perez’s Force India. Juncadella had a session of stark contrast to Verstappen as he made many mistakes at turn 5 which ended in him crashing the car.
Pastor Maldonado was just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in 6th place for Lotus. The Venezuelan scored his first points of the season last week in Austin and will be hoping for another top 10 this weekend. Kimi Raikkonen was struggling in his Ferrari as had multiple excursions off-track. Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10.
Esteban Gutierrez and Jenson Button failed to a set a time in first practice. Gutierrez reported a problem out on track before returning to the pits, with Button’s car cutting out completely on his installation lap.
Practice 1 results:
|3||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||1’13.723||0.959||39|
|6||38||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||1’13.827||1.063||26|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||1’14.197||1.433||27|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1’14.678||1.914||33|
|14||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’14.902||2.138||24|
|16||34||Daniel Juncadella||Force India-Mercedes||1’16.030||3.266||17|
|17||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||No time||1|
|18||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||No time||6|
Mercedes and Nico Rosberg were once again on top in the second practice session, with Rosberg again 2 tenths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen was the closest man to the Mercedes as he got within half a second of Rosberg. He upped his pace from first practice despite continuing to make off-track runs.
Daniel Ricciardo was 4th fastest ahead of the two Williams of Bottas and Massa. Fernando Alonso was 7th fastest and was unusually behind his team-mate in 3rd. He was responsible for one of 3 red flags during the heavily interrupted 90 minutes after an exhaust fire. the cause was later put down to the fact that the engine had a fairly high mileage. It is not expected that the fire will incur a penalty for Fernando as it was not his race engine.
Daniil Kvyat continued to show Toro Rosso’s reasonable pace despite having fallen from 3rd in first practice to 8th. Sebastian Vettel improved from a disappointing 14th in first practice to a slightly better 9th ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren.
Two other red flags hampered the session’s running along with Alonso’s fire. Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso came to a stop shortly after the session began. He only set 5 laps after getting his car back from Max Verstappen. Esteban Gutierrez continued to have problems in his Sauber. The red flag had only just come in with 3 minutes to go when his car came to a hault in the same place. He had suffered problems with his energy recovery system all day.
Sergio Perez was the only man to not set a time after his Force India underwent an engine change following Juncadella’s antics in the first practice session.
Practice 2 times:
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||1’12.956||0.833||24|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||1’13.254||1.131||35|
|9||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’13.333||1.210||28|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1’13.882||1.759||32|
|17||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Renault||1’17.171||5.048||5|
|18||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||No time||0|