Mexico, FP2: Rosberg quickest ahead of Red Bulls
Rosberg on top but Red Bulls are close in second session
Nico Rosberg recovered from morning brake issues to top the timesheets in second practice ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver finished 0.245 seconds clear of Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished third to split the Mercedes drivers as Lewis Hamilton finished in fourth place, almost half a second behind Rosberg.
Grip had been at a premium on the slippery new track surface in the first session and it was a similarly story in the second session. FP1 pacesetter Max Verstappen was the first to be caught out, the Toro Rosso driver spinning at the final corner. He hit the wall hard badly damaging the left side of his car. The crash ended his running for the day.
Valtteri Bottas was the next to encounter trouble. The Finn’s Williams snapped out at high speed on the run to the first corner and he smashed the nose cone off his car.
The afternoon session began in dry conditions with all cars on the medium-compound tyre. The pace in this opening phase was set by Lewis Hamilton whose lap of 1:24.016 put him two tenths clear of Kvyat, with Sebastian Vettel third ahead of Rosberg and Ricciardo. The champion elect then joined those struggling for grip with a spin at Turn Five, but he continued.
Spots of rain began to fall and as the skies over the Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez began to grow darker and Sergio Perez decided the time was right to bolt on the option soft tyres and go for a qualifying simulation.
The local favourite didn’t initially exploit the potential of the tyre, a brief off putting him fourth on the timesheet.
Despite the grip issues the threat of rain led to a mass switcxh to the soft rubber and Rosberg was able to get the most out of the change, claiming P1 with a lap of 1:21.531.
Rosberg was then assured of top spot when light but steady rain began to fall in the final 25 minutes of the session, preventing any further improvements.
With Hamilton fourth behind Ricciardo and Kvyat, fifth place went to Sebastian Vettel with Raikkonen sixth in the second Ferrari. Bottas recovered from his early crash to record the seventh best time of the session.
McLaren-Honda had a useful afternoon with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finishing eighth and ninth respectively. Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten for Williams.
|01||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:21.531||36|
|02||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Renault||1:21.776||27|
|03||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Renault||1:21.868||28|
|04||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:21.961||33|
|07||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Mercedes||1:22.721||28|
|08||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||1:22.993||36|
|09||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||1:23.109||25|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:23.289||32|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India Mercedes||1:23.290||34|
|12||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus Mercedes||1:23.363||24|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso Renault||1:23.364||41|
|14||Felipe Nasr||Sauber Ferrari||1:23.430||39|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:23.597||33|
|16||Romain Grosjean||Lotus Mercedes||1:23.614||26|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:24.533||34|
|18||Alexander Rossi||Manor Ferrari||1:25.940||29|
|19||Will Stevens||Manor Ferrari||1:26.968||28|
|20||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso Renault||-:—.---||2|