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Monza 2014
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Rosberg and Mercedes lead the way on wet first day at Interlagos
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Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Nov 2013   |  6:54 pm GMT  |  30 comments

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

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30 Comments
  1. Maxxus says:

    Hello James,a bit off topic here but recently there was some contoversy here in the states when a washed-up NFL player named 6-time Nascar champ Jimmie Johnson named him 3rd in his list of all-time best athletes, then proceeded to say he wasn’t an athlete because all he does is drive a car (but Tiger Woods was his #1 choice, although we can argue of the athletic abilities of a golfer). Maybe we can have a poll or an article to demonstrate what professional race drivers endure, and the levels of fitness they need to maintain to stay competitive?

  2. Steve says:

    Anyone know why Jenson only did 6 laps?

    1. Gary says:

      He was yelling into his radio something about “No grip”

    2. DonSimon says:

      Shaving his back for next weeks big triathlon.

  3. Richard says:

    Yes it maybe the stage is being set for one of themost interesting and exciting races this year. – I hope the weather stays wet for the race whereby the winner will not be a foregone conclusion. I fancy Lady Luck will be astride her horse this weekend.

  4. marc b says:

    Merc did well but James do you know anything of the jungle drums indicating Ross brawn may be going to Ferrari?

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Sounds good, Ross can fix the strategy, direct James’s engineering, tell Luca to back off his drivers and Stefano can be moved to a new role as Kimi’s ice-cream man. ;)

  5. Grant H says:

    Ham did not look so quick in P2, 0.8 from nico is a big gap

  6. Adam says:

    Good start to the weekend for Mclaren. They might even knab another point this weekend!

    1. spactus says:

      yea comentators have been saying how good the Mclaren look in f1,f2 and F3 for the last 9 races,only to return to their average position of 8th come qualy and race

  7. Goggomobil. says:

    For the record.
    Interlagos, undoubtedly will deliver a an
    surprise or two,but none more so for three
    most notable part of F1 grid of a recent
    years.A exit of a V-8 engine, Vodafone as a
    sponsor,and above all a true grit Aussie who
    don’t shoot from the hip by the name of
    Mark Webber, Allen Jones would be proud of
    him as most Aussie are.
    Good on ya Mate,take no prisoners in your
    new assignment in life.
    Massa to, he was a World Chapion in Ferrari
    even though it was only for a 30 sec,

    1. David Sydney says:

      Alan Jones. Alan!

      I don’t think I’ve ever complained about getting up at 3am to watch the Brazilian GP; one of the best circuits for racing on the calendar.

      I would love to see Webber win, even if it’s a gift by Vettel in return for Malaysia (now that would be a classy act and repair much of Vettel’s standing in Australia).

      But Mark Webber, how we will never forget South Korea 2010! Damn you! And the dodgy Red Bull strategy in Abu Dhabi 2010.

      Let’s hope Danny is as quick as Vettel and takes it to him next year.

      1. Goggomobil. says:

        Yup,can’t stop admire the guy.
        The injury he sustained in Tassie would
        have killed a brown “dog “,but in true
        Aussie style,got up dusted himself an went
        for it again,
        As a man they don’t come any better,like a
        country song, from the heart.
        Ah, the Red Bull,never forget the fact
        what goes around it comes around.

    2. Gram Speltrol says:

      Drafting in ‘Notepad’ will always insert unnecessary carriage returns . . .

  8. darren w says:

    James,
    I was just watching practice for this weekend’s Grand Prix and the TV was showing an uninterrupted lap by Lotus to give us a nice listen to these V8 engines on their final weekend. An interview with Frank Williams touched on how much is changing next season and the nightmares it posed for designers.

    With the reduced fuel allowed on board for races in 2014, have you heard any discussion about how aero design (downforce) may be compromised to find gains in efficiency; or has the issue of reaching the end of Grands Prix been able to be handled entirely through development of the new power units?

  9. Anil says:

    Off topic but the cover photo of Webber’s podium jump made me spill my tea….makes me laugh everytime!

  10. Lewis not good in the wet? Where have you been mate?

  11. alexdhq says:

    If this finale wasn’t in Interlagos, I wouldn’t bother watching despite not missing a single race all season. And if it rains, it will be a classic.

    Abu Dhabi as season finale next year? I thought they had learned from past mistakes…

  12. deancassady says:

    Red Bull are yet there.
    But it looks like a non-Red Bull’s best chance, nonetheless.
    Go Heikki.

  13. pepe-le-pew says:

    Fuji 2007 (raised eyebrow)…

  14. Sasidharan says:

    If its not wet, VET wins ;)

  15. Seifenkistler says:

    Webbers front camera turned back and was showing the air flow towards the diffusor because of all the water, looked like nice aerodynamics.

    In german TV Rosberg said that there was no warning when intermediates lost grip. Hamilton got hit by this because he is a driver who approaches the limits from above. He drives as fast as he thinks is possible and then reduces if it is too fast. Rosberg approches the limits from below which is a slower process.

    So if there is room for a mistake Hamilton is faster, if not like in Monaco Rosberg?

  16. Gazza says:

    Yes it’s a shame Rosberg can,t maintain this form all the time. What happened to him last week at windy Austin?

    The real pity is that whatever happens he will finish behind his new team mate at the end of the season.

    1. Daniel Spiller says:

      Why is that a pity? He got beat. Simple. Switch the positions from Malaysia and he still got beat.

  17. Anon says:

    No he was truly terrible at Silverstone 2008 and in qualifying this year he’s been soundly beaten by his team mate in the wet, oh wait…

  18. Andrew M says:

    “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.”

    Make sure you invite all the teams this time Paul ;)

  19. KRB says:

    Add another one to the list!

  20. JohnBt says:

    It’s just records breaking year for Sebastian Vettel.

    Am looking forward to Interlagos, it’s always fascinating with or without rain.

    Will Webber beat Vettel, tough one but who knows.

  21. jack says:

    Hi Guys, do any of you know, what pre-race strat
    egy-[Nos of Pit-stops] each driver will be using tomorrow. If you do, what is your source-website,
    magazine,sports chanel. I will check back on this site, be4 the race [interlagos] starts tomorrow.
    Thanks

  22. Denny says:

    Maybe it is time for Lewis to change his engineer The level of communication and advice is somewhat lacking…

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