Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was the fastest driver in a wet final Friday afternoon practice session for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, ahead of World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Heikki Kovalainen popped in a fast time at the end for Lotus to go fourth quickest.
Rosberg set the pace for most of the session in the Mercedes, but was pressed in the closing stages of the afternoon session by Vettel and Webber.
With unpredictable weather forecast for the rest of the weekend – some forecasts say it will be warm and dry, others say rain – the Mercedes certainly looks like it could compete with the Red Bull if the track is wet.
There was little running in the afternoon as the conditions hovered between the wet and intermediate tyres. Many runners went to intermediates for a run at the end. The intermediate is for a damp track, but at Interlagos there are several points where standing water can develop with sustained rainfall and that requires a full wet tyre.
Many of the big names, including Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton didn’t go out at all in the afternoon until the final minutes of the session. Alonso went straight out on intermediates and set the third fastest time at that point. Vettel went out with just 12 minutes to go.
There was also rain in the morning session, although conditions in the first 20 minutes were the best of the day and the fastest times were set there.
Pirelli had brought some 2014 development tyres to Interlagos, but they received very limited running due to the conditions. Only Vettel ran them briefly.
“We learned absolutely nothing, ” said Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. “It’s strange, we haven’t had much wet running this year. But there is nothing you can do about it.”
“We are a long way down the road (in preparation for 2014), we had a product here that is very similar to what we will race next year and we will have another test of our own in December.”
The Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton also set the pace in the first 20 minutes of the first session, with lap times 2.5 seconds faster than the afternoon.
Toro Rosso new boy Daniil Kvyat caught the eye with eighth fastest time on his second Friday morning practice outing, ahead of his race debut next year. “He was driving with a lot of confidence, has plenty of car control, it was an impressive performance this morning,” said Red Bull’s Christian Horner, for whose GP3 team Kvyat drove this year.
Brazilian Grand Prix, Friday Practice 2, Interlagos (Wet)
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.306s 12
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m27.531s +0.225s 10
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m27.592s +0.286s 18
4. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m28.129s +0.823s 13
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.147s +0.841s 9
6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m28.405s +1.099s 11
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m28.540s +1.234s 9
8. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m28.560s +1.254s 20
9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m28.739s +1.433s 20
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m28.891s +1.585s 12
11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m28.928s +1.622s 10
12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m29.049s +1.743s 17
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1m29.174s +1.868s 11
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m29.717s +2.411s 13
15. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m29.783s +2.477s 7
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m30.425s +3.119s 15
17. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m30.748s +3.442s 8
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m31.061s +3.755s 18
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m31.118s +3.812s 16
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m31.165s +3.859s 15
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m31.211s +3.905s 19
22. Jenson Button McLaren 1m31.770s +4.464s 6