US GP practice: Nico Rosberg fastest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo
Nico Rosberg set the pace in second practice for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix, but Daniel Ricciardo resisted Lewis Hamilton and prevented a Mercedes one-two.
In a reversal of form from the morning session, championship leader Rosberg lapped nearly three tenths quicker than F1 title rival Hamilton during their qualifying simulations on the super-soft Pirelli tyre.
But Ricciardo sprang a surprise by splitting the pair with a 1m37.552s effort that placed his Red Bull within two tenths of a second of the leading Mercedes.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest for Ferrari, over half a second adrift of Hamilton.
Max Verstappen was fifth in the second Red Bull, while Force India pair Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, and McLaren-Honda duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, all lapped faster than Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, which rounded out the top 10.
Raikkonen complained about the handling of the rear end of his Ferrari, and went off during his qualifying simulation, so had to rely on a second effort completed on the same set of tyres, which was only fractionally quicker than he managed on the soft compound early in the session.
Carlos Sainz Jr was the last man to lap below 1m39s, ending up 11th quickest in the underpowered Toro Rosso.
Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Nasr also impressed, lapping 12th and 13th quickest for Renault and Sauber respectively.
That put them clear of Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who were split by the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
Haas endured another difficult session at its home race, with Romain Grosjean only 18th fastest and team-mate Esteban Gutierrez 20th, behind Esteban Ocon’s Manor, which recovered well after an early spin into the gravel at Turn 17.
Grosjean complained that he could "barely drive the car", struggling particularly with the front end of his Haas.
Marcus Ericsson was 21st, over a second slower than team-mate Nasr, while Pascal Wehrlein ended up slowest of all runners, complaining of too much understeer in his Manor.
He returned to the track later and set improved times in the first and second sectors, but failed to complete the lap on each occasion so remained rooted to the bottom of the timesheet.
There was a brief red flag interruption just as the higher fuel long runs began, so marshals could clear some debris that fell from one of the Haas cars through the high-speed esses.
Gutierrez’s car appeared to shed more bits later on through the same section of the circuit, something that also occurred during a troubled morning session for the Haas team.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.552s||0.194s||33|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.258s||0.900s||27|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.508s||1.150s||32|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.568s||1.210s||31|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m38.971s||1.613s||31|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m39.202s||1.844s||36|
US GP: Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg in first practice
Lewis Hamilton edged Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg in first practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix as Mercedes started the weekend well clear of its rivals.
Hamilton finished 0.315s clear of Rosberg at Austin, posting a lap of 1m37.428s, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third quickest, but a further 1.6s adrift, albeit on the medium compound.
The leading times from Hamilton and Rosberg were set on Pirelli’s soft compound tyres, beating their early times on the super-soft as the track improved during the first 90 minutes of F1 running.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen set the early pace on soft tyres with a 1m42.738s before being deposed by Rosberg by 2.1s, with the championship leader the first to try the super-softs at the time.
Rosberg remained top for only a handful of minutes as Hamilton became the first to dip below the 1m40s mark with his first run on super-softs.
While Hamilton continued to lower the benchmark, just before the hour mark Rosberg then reclaimed top spot with a 1m37.743s on softs, but Hamilton produced a lap soon after that remained unbeaten.
Raikkonen finished fourth quickest, improving to a 1m39.407s ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who recently confirmed he is Renault bound in 2017.
Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo were sixth and seventh best, the latter finishing 2.535s adrift on used mediums, with Sebastian Vettel down in seventh on softs.
At one stage Vettel ran wide at the penultimate corner, his Ferrari rattling over the rumble strips resulting in a piece of bodywork shaking loose, colliding with his right wing mirror in the process and dislodging it.
For the lap that followed Vettel drove with one hand as he used his left to stop the wing mirror from falling off.
Toro Rosso duo Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10, both 2.7s down and separated by just nine thousandths of a second on the super-soft compound, with the latter complaining of understeer.
On home soil for their team, Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez finished 14th and 15th, 3.5s off the pace.
Their session ended in unusual fashion as both had to be wheeled back into the garage from the end of the pitlane where they had come to a stop.
There was an outing for two reserve drivers, with Force India’s Alfonso Celis Jr – in for Sergio Perez – four seconds down in 17th.
Manor’s Jordan King, in his maiden practice outing and replacing Pascal Wehrlein, was 20th, 4.584s adrift.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.379s||1.951s||28|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.712s||2.284s||27|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.963s||2.535s||26|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m40.131s||2.703s||16|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m40.140s||2.712s||26|
|17||Alfonso Celis||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.422s||3.994s||27|
Kimi: “We keep improving to get the results we deserve”
I like the race in Austin: it’s a nice town and people are very polite. I think it’s good for F1 and for Ferrari that we come to the US, and hopefully we can have a good weekend. But it’s hard to say who is going to be the fastest here and what we are going to get on Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll start as any other race weekend, doing our things and we’ll see where we are. The circuit is interesting, quite a new one and the design is nice. Usually there’s quite a good racing here, which is good for us as drivers and also for the spectators. Last year it was a pity for the weather conditions, this year it looks ok so let’s see what happens. We keep working all the time and obviously in some races we have been strong and in others not as strong as we hoped. We are doing things right and we are improving, but we still have a lot of work to do, it’s a never-ending work in progress. Last race was good but did not give us the result we should have got, so we are there to try again.
Raikkonen describes F1 backmarkers as ‘crazy’ after Japanese GP
Kimi Raikkonen has described Formula 1 backmarkers as "crazy" after struggling to clear traffic during the Japanese Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was among those who complained about being held up during the race over team radio, with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen among those also requesting more blue flags.
Raikkonen admitted Suzuka’s narrow and sweeping layout is particularly tricky for lapping cars, but believes backmarkers have a responsibility to get out of the way quickly.
"Every track is different but the fact is when you have blue flags, certain people slow down and let you pass," said Raikkonen.
"Then they are one lap down and I understand sometimes they have their own fight but it’s not difficult to let people past.
"You are always going to lose time but you are one lap down so it’s a part of racing.
"Obviously a circuit like this it affects more and you end up following people and some of them were just crazy.
"You end up following one lap behind them so it could be better.
"But I don’t think it would’ve changed our race it was more where we started."
“Fast enough for doing better”
Kimi regrets starting position affected his race
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a good qualifying yesterday, the issue with the gearbox and the consequent starting position change was not ideal in this kind of track. Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment, as we had a good car and if we could have stayed in front we would have fought with more free air and with a lot of speed. I had a good start but then I got stuck behind other people: it was really tricky to follow other cars and it affected quite a bit the behavior. It was also difficult to stay close to them and attack them. Once we got past them and I was on my own, the car was quick and handling well. For sure today we were fast enough for a better result. Unfortunately that’s how it goes…”
Nico Rosberg wins F1 Japanese Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton third
Nico Rosberg strengthened his grip on the lead of the Formula 1 drivers’ title race with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix as another slow start undermined team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
From the 30th pole position of his F1 career Rosberg produced a faultless drive at Suzuka to claim his 23rd win, and ninth this season to open up a 33-point cushion over Hamilton with only 100 now to play for from the final four races.
Hamilton could only manage third, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking second as 5.7s covered the top three at the chequered flag.
The result sealed a third successive constructors’ championship for Mercedes after it failed to clinch it in Malaysia last Sunday when Hamilton’s engine blew.
Hamilton’s hopes of a third successive win at this track were over after the first few seconds.
Following overnight rain, come the start of the race there were still damp patches on the circuit, with one of those being Hamilton’s grid box, and the three-time champion showed some concern beforehand.
Once the five red lights disappeared Hamilton then bogged down and was swamped, slotting into eighth and apologising to his team shortly afterwards.
While Rosberg enjoyed the lead, what followed was damage limitation from Hamilton, who passed Nico Hulkenberg on lap seven before making up another two places at his first pitstop to get ahead of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton then soon cleared Ricciardo to leave him with Verstappen and Vettel in between him and Rosberg after all the opening pitstops in which the leaders took on the hard tyres.
Come the second round of stops Hamilton again made up ground, getting ahead of Vettel by pitting before the Ferrari.
Mercedes again gave Hamilton the hard tyre, while Ferrari switched Vettel to softs in an aggressive move, but despite a couple of laps of pressure from the latter he was unable to get close to make a move on the former.
Vettel’s irritation over backmarkers this season reached new heights in this race as the four-time champion was continually on the radio bemoaning being held up, and by the end he could only claim fourth, 14.4s behind Rosberg.
Hamilton did close to within a second of Verstappen on lap 44, and on lap 52 he made a move into the chicane, but was forced to take the escape road as the 19-year-old moved to the inside to defend as they hit the brakes.
Behind the leading quartet, Raikkonen, who started the day with a five-place penalty for a gearbox change after qualifying third, and Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth.
Force India pair Perez and Hulkenberg were seventh and eighth, with the team ekeing out a 10-point gap over Williams whose drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished ninth and 10th on a one-stop strategy.
JAPANESE GP RESULT
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||53||4.978s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||53||33.941s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||53||57.495s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||53||59.177s|
|12||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||52||1 Lap|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||52||1 Lap|
|15||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|16||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||52||1 Lap|
|17||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|18||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||52||1 Lap|
|19||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|20||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|21||Esteban Ocon||Manor/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|22||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
Kimi Raikkonen positively surprised with Ferrari pace at Japanese GP
Kimi Raikkonen said he was "positively surprised" with the speed of his Ferrari after he qualified third for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The Finn said on Friday that there was "a lot of lap time" left in his Ferrari after admitting to "fighting with the car" throughout the two practice sessions.
But he turned it around to finish three tenths adrift of polesitter Nico Rosberg and 0.081s ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who drops three places to seventh because of a penalty for causing a collision at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
"It’s pretty much the same car that we raced a week ago," said Raikkonen.
"I don’t think many people had a lot of difference.
"I’m positively surprised with how well the car has been behaving and how quick it has been.
"It has been tricky to get the right balance but it’s been really good. So far so good.
"Third is not exactly what we’re looking for but we were pretty close. It was not too bad."
Ferrari brought nine sets of soft tyres per driver to Suzuka – more than any other team – which meant it had enough available to run them in each of the three qualifying segments.
Red Bull, which has recently outperformed Ferrari, only had six sets and got through Q1 on the mediums.
When asked if using the soft consistently helped, Raikkonen said: "It doesn’t harm, that’s for sure.
"It’s more easy when you have more sets of the same compounds so you can fine-tune.
"In qualifying, there’s not an awful lot you can do if it is correct or not.
"We have been suffering a bit of understeer all weekend.
"Even in qualifying, it was slowing us down a little bit in the first sector but it got better in the end, we were a bit faster.
"It’s very small details that have to come together and we put it more or less together.
"The car has been behaving quite good and we try to do at least the same if not better tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Japanese GP F1 pole by 0.013s
Nico Rosberg won a thrilling battle with Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton to claim pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Rosberg was fastest in every practice session, and topped the field again in qualifying at Suzuka, but only after a late rally against a Hamilton charge.
Hamilton trailed his team-mate in Q1 and Q2, but snuck ahead after the first runs in Q3.
Rosberg leapt back to the top of the times with a 1m30.647s best on his final lap, as Hamilton fell just 0.013s short of taking pole despite an improvement of his own at the end.
Kimi Raikkonen produced a strong lap to qualify third fastest for Ferrari, the only other driver to make it below 1m31s.
Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was less than a tenth slower in fourth, but he faces a three-place drop on the grid thanks to his penalty for hitting Nico Rosberg at the first corner of last Sunday’s Malaysian GP.
Max Verstappen beat Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to the fifth fastest time, also by less than a tenth of a second.
Haas got both cars through to Q3 for the first time, and was best of the rest behind the top six cars in Q2.
Romain Grosjean set an identical time to Force India’s Sergio Perez in Q3, but ended up eighth fastest, just ahead of the second Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
Grosjean’s Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez was seventh fastest in Q2, but ended up cut adrift at the bottom of the top 10 in Q3, over half a second slower than Grosjean.
Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa made only one run each in Q2, and were just edged out of the top 10 by the Force Indias.
Bottas missed the cut by less than a tenth, while Massa was only 0.165s further back in 12th.
Daniil Kvyat felt he did the best he could to put his Toro Rosso 13th on the grid, fractionally faster than team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, who spun at Spoon Curve on his second run in Q2.
Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda was only 0.004s slower than Sainz in 15th, 0.118s ahead of the leading Renault of Jolyon Palmer.
Jenson Button failed to escape Q1 at Honda’s home circuit, ending up just 0.032s shy of beating McLaren team-mate Alonso to the draw.
Kevin Magnussen was 18th fastest in the second Renault, ahead of Sauber pairing Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr and the two Manors.
Ericsson was slowest of all after the first runs in Q1, but ended up just over a tenth ahead of his team-mate after a puzzled Nasr failed to go faster on his second run.
Esteban Ocon out-qualified Manor team-mate Pascal Wehrlein for the second race in a row, this time by more than two tenths of a second, feeling he couldn’t have got much more out of his car.
The fact Wehrlein qualified last renders his five-place grid penalty for an illegal gearbox change potentially irrelevant.
JAPANESE GP GRID
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.178s||0.531s|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.240s||0.593s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.961s||1.314s|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.142s||1.495s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m32.623s||1.976s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m32.685s||2.038s|
Japanese GP F1 FP3: Nico Rosberg fastest again at Suzuka
Nico Rosberg set the pace in final Formula 1 practice for the Japanese Grand Prix while his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton failed to complete a qualifying simulation.
Rosberg’s time of 1m32.092s was three tenths quicker than Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and ensured the championship leader completed a clean sweep of practice sessions this weekend at Suzuka.
A damp start meant drivers completed their installation laps on the intermediate or wet tyres but it wasn’t long before they made the switch to slicks.
But the time lost early in the session meant drivers left it until the final minutes of the session to do their qualifying simulations which in turn created traffic that forced many to abandon laps.
Rosberg edged Hamilton on the medium tyre runs by just 0.054s and then improved by 1.2s when he fitted the softs and got a clean lap.
Hamilton was not so fortunate, losing time running wide at Degner 2 and then backing off and returning to the pits as there was not enough time to get a second run in.
Sebastian Vettel was third quickest, 0.639s off the pace, a fraction ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Kimi Raikkonen went quicker than Rosberg in the first sector, but was baulked by Renault’s Kevin Magunssen on the approach to Degner 1, ruining his lap. He ended the session fifth.
Felipe Massa completed a late lap on the softs to vault into sixth, ahead of Hamilton, whose time was set on the medium tyres.
Renault showed good promise with Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen achieving exactly the same lap time to finish eighth and ninth respectively, 1.5s adrift.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.
It was a troubled session for Haas with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez having off-track excursions, with the latter spinning at the Esses.
Jenson Button also struggled, finishing 19th quickest, while Carlos Sainz Jr was bottom of the timesheet having completed just three laps.
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.394s||0.302s||10|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.784s||0.692s||9|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.646s||1.554s||11|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.921s||1.829s||11|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m34.037s||1.945s||12|
|22||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m56.323s||24.231s||3|
Kimi Raikkonen struggling with Ferrari despite quick Suzuka times
Kimi Raikkonen feels he has "a lot of lap time" left in his Ferrari after admitting to "fighting with the car" throughout Japanese Grand Prix Formula 1 practice.
Raikkonen finished Friday third quickest Suzuka, just over three tenths of a second behind the two Mercedes and half a second clear of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel behind.
But Raikkonen was far from happy with his car overall, even declaring over the radio that it felt like it had no front wing at one stage as he battled understeer.
"The balance, and the feeling, is not where we want it to be," said Raikkonen.
"I struggled a lot with the understeer and fighting with the car, especially in the first part of the circuit, and it just doesn’t feel nice.
"It got a bit better in the end, so if we get the feeling and the car working as we want there’s a lot of lap time [to be gained]. We can go quite a bit faster.
"It wasn’t a disaster lap-time wise – I’m a bit surprised with the lap time. Hopefully we can work on all the small things and improve the feeling a bit."