Abu Dhabi GP: Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole ahead of finale
Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Formula 1 world championship decider in Abu Dhabi.
The German outpaced title rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just over three tenths on the first runs in the top-10 shootout.
He then improved on his second run, avoiding the lock-up later in the lap that cost him time on the first.
Although Hamilton also improved, he ended up 0.386 seconds off Rosberg to line up second.
But even if Rosberg wins Sunday’s race, Hamilton need only finish second to be sure of the title.
Williams again looked a potential threat in qualifying but when it came to the fastest runs in Q3, the pace advantage of Mercedes shone through.
Valtteri Bottas ended up third, just over half a second off Rosberg, with team-mate Felipe Massa just behind.
Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel locked out row three, ahead of stablemate Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso entry.
Jenson Button beat the two Ferraris to eighth place, with Kimi Raikkonen ninth after only completing one run in Q3 thanks to having run out of fresh super-softs.
Fernando Alonso, on his Ferrari swansong, was 10th having failed to improve on his second run thanks to locking up and running off the track.
Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren only had one proper run in Q2, likely because of the same underfuelling problem that also forced Button to abandon his first run before setting a laptime.
The Dane had looked set to make the top 10, only for Raikkonen and Kvyat to knock him down to 11th on their final laps.
Jean-Eric Vergne was also knocked down the order in the final seconds, ending up 12th, with the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg behind.
Sauber driver Adrian Sutil was slowest in Q2, falling three tenths short of his Q1 pace.
Romain Grosjean missed out on reaching Q2 by just over two hundredths of a second during a frenetic battle in the final seconds of the first segment of qualifying.
First, Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado moved into a Q2 position before being bumped by Esteban Gutierrez, who was then relegated by Sutil.
Grosjean’s final lap was not quite enough to beat Sutil, leaving him in 16th place, although he will drop to the rear of the field thanks to 20-place penalty for changing power unit components.
Gutierrez ended up 17th, ahead of Maldonado and the two Caterhams.
Kamui Kobayashi’s was the faster of the two green machines, although F1 debutant Will Stevens gave a good account of himself by lapping just over half a second slower despite limited running in the car.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.267s||0.787s|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.893s||1.413s|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.908s||1.428s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.207s||1.727s|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.239s||1.759s|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.384s||1.904s|
Abu Dhabi GP: Nico Rosberg heads Lewis Hamilton in final practice
Nico Rosberg heads into qualifying for the Formula 1 title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as favourite after comfortably beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in final practice.
The German set the fastest time of the weekend so far in the final practice session at the hot and sunny Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
His effort, a 1m41.424s, was 0.7s faster than the Briton’s Friday benchmark and though Hamilton also improved he fell short of Rosberg’s best by 0.369s.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the pace early on, the Spaniard the only supersoft tyre runner for the majority of the session.
Despite ending his session prematurely, getting out of his car with more than 20 minutes to go, his 1m42.653s remained the benchmark until the times started tumbling in the final few minutes of the hour-long session as everyone switched to the supersoft Pirelli tyre.
It was the Williams of Felipe Massa who was first of the remaining runners to switch and he ended up best of the rest behind the Mercedes, albeit over a second slower than Rosberg.
The Brazilian was fourth fastest ahead of the Red Bull of outgoing world champion Sebastian Vettel and the McLaren of Jenson Button. Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was seventh fastest overall in his Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams.
Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Kimi Raikkonen, who struggled throughout with the handling of his Ferrari, completed the top 10.
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.679s||1.255s||19|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.773s||1.349s||14|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.809s||1.385s||20|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.352s||1.928s||20|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.360s||1.936s||19|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.501s||2.077s||18|
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a very busy day and, particularly in the first session, we struggled a bit to find the right balance on the car. The programme included various set-up tests and, probably partly because of the high temperatures, my car felt rather nervous. Between the two sessions, we decided to make a few changes and in FP2, with lower temperatures, things improved, also in terms of how we compared to our competitors. My best lap wasn’t perfect, I made a small mistake. Overall, the work we did today produced positive results and this evening’s analysis of the data will deliver a lot of useful information to help us improve for qualifying and the race.”
Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton stays ahead of Rosberg in FP2
Lewis Hamilton drew first blood in the battle for the Formula 1 title by outpacing Nico Rosberg in Friday practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Rosberg was faster in the first part of the session when the field was running on the slower soft-compound Pirellis by over six tenths of a second.
But once the field bolted on the super-softs, it was Hamilton who emerged as the pacesetter, shading Rosberg by 0.144s on his first flier and then improving by almost half-a-tenth on his second attempt.
Rosberg subsequently shaved a tenth off his laptime, but ended up 83 thousandths of a second slower than his Mercedes team-mate.
Both had very brief visits to the run-off during the session as they fought for supremacy, but Mercedes still had a crushing advantage on pace.
Kevin Magnussen was best-of-the rest in third place ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but such was the advantage of Mercedes that they were the only other drivers to better Rosberg’s earlier top time on the soft rubber.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest, just under a second off the pace, pipping the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest for Ferrari, but it was a disappointing session overall for the Scuderia as the second car of Fernando Alonso stopped after two laps with a suspected engine problem.
Jenson Button’s running was limited thanks to a hydraulic leak that delayed him early on, but he was able to completed 21 laps and ended up eighth fastest.
Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10.
The lead Force India of Sergio Perez missed out on the top 10 by less than two tenths, with Pastor Maldonado 12th fastest.
With Alonso bottom of the timesheets after not setting a time, the returning Caterhams brought up the rear.
But Kamui Kobayashi was just over half-a-second off the back of the midfield pack.
Behind him, Will Stevens completed 33 laps in the second Caterham and continued his learning curve after a disrupted morning session, ending up within five seconds off the pace.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.959s||0.846s||33|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.183s||1.070s||32|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.546s||1.433s||38|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.746s||1.633s||37|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m44.068s||1.955s||32|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m44.157s||2.044s||39|
Abu Dhabi GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in first practice session
Lewis Hamilton recorded the quickest time in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Formula 1 title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver set a laptime 0.133 seconds quicker than his team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Once again the two title protagonists dominated the top of the timesheets, with a 1.7-second margin over Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in third.
The two Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were next up in fourth and fifth places respectively.
The Toro Rossos set the sixth and seventh quickest times with Jean-Eric Vergne lapping a tenth ahead of his team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
Valtteri Bottas was eighth, but just half an hour into the session he suffered an alarming moment when the engine bodywork was ripped off the right-hand side of his Williams at high speed.
His Williams team-mate Felipe Massa was also forced to pit with a similar problem and the team elected not to run again in the session. Massa was 13th.
Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 in their Force Indias ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren and the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Another driver near the bottom of the timesheets was Jenson Button. He suffered a problem with his McLaren and could only manage eight laps in total, leaving him 17th.
Lotus was forced to replace one of its front wings after it was damaged by hitting a bird on track.
Briton Will Stevens was last on the timesheets in his first ever F1 session for Caterham.
His running was curtailed after just a single installation lap due to a suspected problem with his Renault power unit.
After a long fix, Stevens was able to resume the session with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Two other drivers made their practice debuts on Friday lunchtime at the Yas Marina circuit.
Formula 3 European champion Esteban Ocon stepped into Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, while GP3 and sportscar racer Adderly Fong took over Adrian Sutil’s Sauber.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.334s||1.858s||30|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.361s||1.885s||23|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.718s||2.242s||17|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.835s||2.359s||32|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.983s||2.507s||23|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m46.030s||2.554s||24|
Brazilian GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to pole
Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix, beating Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton by just 33 thousandths of a second.
The two Mercedes drivers engaged in a spectacular battle for pole, with Rosberg having the edge by just 29 thousandths on their first runs in the top 10 shootout.
Hamilton then improved his time on his second and final run, briefly knocking Rosberg off top spot.
But Rosberg, behind him on track, then bagged his 10th pole position of the year seconds later.
This secures Rosberg the inaugural F1 pole position trophy.
Williams did look a potential threat for pole position, but after setting the third and fourth fastest times on their first runs, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas failed to improve at the end – Bottas making a small mistake and Massa’s run delayed by a technical problem in the garage.
Jenson Button capped a great turnaround from McLaren after a difficult time during Friday practice with fifth on the grid ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Button secured that position with his first run, but did not improve on his second attempt.
This allowed Vettel to potentially challenge him, but the German ended up eight thousandths of a second behind despite finding almost half a second on his second run.
The second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen was seventh, just ahead of Fernando Alonso, who completed only one run in Q3.
Daniel Ricciardo had a lacklustre, by his standards, afternoon and will start ninth, just ahead of Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez was bumped out of a top 10 slot in the dying seconds of Q2 when Ricciardo posted his sole flying lap, ending up 11th.
He was almost four tenths faster than Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, who had a lock-up into the Senna S on his best lap, with Adrian Sutil 13th and last of those to run in Q2.
Daniil Kvyat was classified 14th and did not run at all in Q2.
This is because he has to serve a grid penalty, carried over from Austin where he used his 10th internal combustion engine of the season but did not qualify well enough to serve his complete 10-place drop.
Romain Grosjean narrowly missed out on a place in Q2 in the lead Lotus, falling a tenth of a second short of beating Sutil to the all-important 14th place.
Three thousandths of a second behind was Jean-Eric Vergne, who complained variously of understeer and oversteer during Q1.
But his struggles were largely a consequence of the fact he could only complete five laps during Friday practice after handing his car over to Max Verstappen in the morning and then suffering an ERS problem in the afternoon.
Sergio Perez was a quarter of a tenth further back after also suffering a dismal Friday during which he was unable to take to the track following reserve driver Daniel Juncadella’s morning crash.
He has to serve a seven-place grid penalty for wiping out Sutil on the opening lap of last weekend’s United States GP, meaning he will drop behind slowest qualifier Pastor Maldonado.
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m10.938s||0.915s|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.075s||1.052s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m11.976s||-|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.040s||-|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||-|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.076s|
Brazilian GP: Nico Rosberg completes clean sweep in practice
Nico Rosberg will go into Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying as favourite for pole after setting the pace in the final practice session of the Interlagos Formula 1 weekend.
In dry, overcast conditions the German recorded a time just 0.114 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, having also topped both Friday sessions.
The Williams drivers were again best of the rest behind the Mercedes as Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas set the third and fourth quickest times.
But all the teams were anxiously looking at the weather radars as rain is forecast for the afternoon’s qualifying hour.
Hamilton’s session wasn’t without incident, as he locked up and spun under braking for the Senna S early on.
Then at the end of the hour he was baulked by a Lotus in the twisty part of the lap while on a quick run.
Local hero Massa was one of the main pacesetters throughout the session as he and Williams team-mate Bottas traded fastest laptimes, but it was when the Mercedes switched to the softer tyres that they resumed their customary place at the top of the timesheets.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth quickest ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button.
They finished in front of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Dane Kevin Magnussen took ninth overall ahead of Daniil Kvyat who rounded out the top 10.
Sergio Perez was the slowest of the 18 runners, putting in 25 laps following his lack of running on Friday.
He goes into qualifying with a seven-place grid penalty following his first-lap contact with Adrian Sutil at Austin.
He goes into qualifying with a seven-place grid penalty following his first-lap contact with Adrian Sutil at Austin.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.188s||0.742s||11|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m11.834s||1.388s||26|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.967s||1.521s||21|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.235s||1.789s||29|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.324s||1.878s||17|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.942s||2.496s||25|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Good responses”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This was a better Friday than past ones and thanks to the work we did on the car, we got a good response from the changes we made in both sessions. In the first session we concentrated on set-up work and aerodynamic measurements. Because of my usual problems with the front end, we tried to eliminate anything that might have been causing them. In the afternoon, on the Soft tyres, the lap times were good and I’m sure that, without traffic, I could have done even better. Because of the red flags, we were unable to do a race simulation, but everything can change over the next days, because the weather forecast is very uncertain. In the dry, the car is going quite well, but we know that, if it rains, the track conditions could change things around.”
Brazilian GP: Nico Rosberg stays on top in second practice
Nico Rosberg beat Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to fastest time in Friday practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The German was a couple of tenths behind his Mercedes team-mate during the early running, when the field was using the slower medium-compound Pirelli rubber.
But on his first flying lap after bolting on the softs, Rosberg jumped to the top of the timesheets ahead of Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who had been the first driver to use the faster rubber.
Hamilton, just behind Rosberg on the road, was already 0.275s slower than Rosberg after the first two sectors, but ran wide at the Mergulho corner and ended up six tenths behind.
Although Hamilton did improve on his second flyer, and set the fastest time of the session in the middle sector, he still ended up two tenths slower than Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest after leaving his soft-tyre run later than most, although he subsequently had a brief off.
That put him ahead of Ricciardo, who shaded the two Williams entries of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
Fernando Alonso was seventh fastest, a second off the pace, but his session came to a spectacular end that caused a red flag.
The rear of his Ferrari caught fire in what is suspected to be a power unit-related problem, causing him to stop on the straight between the Sol curve and Descida do Lago.
Alonso jumped out of the car and ran behind the barrier, returning moments later with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.
Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was classified as high as fourth at one stage, but ended up eighth ahead of the second Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.
Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10, beating the lead Lotus of Pastor Maldonado by just two hundredths of a second.
Romain Grosjean was 12th ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India, with Sauber pairing Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil 14th and 15th, the latter complaining of understeer.
Gutierrez, who suffered electrical problems in the morning, also had trouble this afternoon, grinding to a halt with 13 minutes remaining and bringing out another red flag.
Jenson Button had also missed most of the morning session after suffering a loss of power. He was down in 16th place and the slowest of those to complete serious running in the session.
Jean-Eric Vergne completed only five laps after taking over the Toro Rosso run by Max Verstappen in the morning.
He suffered what also appears to be a power unit-related problem and stopped on track, which brought out the first of the three red flags after 11 minutes.
Only 17 drivers ran during the session, with Sergio Perez unable to participate after Force India reserve driver Daniel Juncadella shunted his race car during the morning session.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m12.956s||0.833s||24|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.254s||1.131s||35|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m13.333s||1.210s||28|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m13.882s||1.759s||32|
|17||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m17.171s||5.048s||5|
Brazilian GP: Nico Rosberg quickest in opening practice
Nico Rosberg recorded the quickest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver set a laptime 0.221secs quicker than his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Third fastest was the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, who was almost a full second further back. It was an encouraging practice period for the Italian team with the second Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen sixth overall.
The Red Bull youngster had taken over Jean-Eric Vergne’s seat for the 90-minute session and impressed in his Friday morning outing.
Verstappen was one of three drivers who replaced regular runners. Brazilian Felipe Nasr took over Valtteri Bottas’s Williams seat and was 12th fastest overall.
Daniel Juncadella drove in place of Sergio Perez in the Force India. He had an eventful session, firstly leaving his garage directly in front of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and then spinning at Turn 6.
Finally he brought out the red flags after losing the rear of his car and crashing headfirst into the barriers at Turn 8.
A number of drivers were struggling with the lack of grip on the newly-asphalted Interlagos circuit. Despite being held in dry, warm conditions, the 4.3km track was particularly slippery during this opening session of the weekend.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, just one place ahead of local hero Felipe Massa in his Williams.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was eighth, despite suffering a couple of high-speed spins. The Finn was one place behind Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus and ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and world champion Sebastian Vettel were tenth and 14th fastest respectively.
One driver who was unable to set a laptime was Jenson Button. At the end of his installation lap the British driver suffered a complete loss of power on his McLaren.
His mechanics spent the whole practice period fixing his power unit and despite a late attempt to rejoin the tack, he failed to leave the pits.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also had electrical problems with his power unit and he too failed to set a laptime.
|3||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.723s||0.959s||39|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.827s||1.063s||26|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m14.197s||1.433s||27|
|12||Luiz Felipe Nasr||Williams/Mercedes||1m14.522s||1.758s||22|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m14.678s||1.914s||33|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m14.902s||2.138s||24|
|16||Daniel Juncadella||Force India/Mercedes||1m16.030s||3.266s||17|
US GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Austin Formula 1 pole
Nico Rosberg claimed his ninth pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season by beating Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
The German outpaced Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.376 seconds after a stunning final flying lap.
Rosberg had the edge over Hamilton on the pair’s first runs in Q3, and he improved by just over two tenths on his second attempt to consolidate his position.
Hamilton was behind Rosberg on the track, so still had his lap to complete, but was unable to improve despite setting the fastest final sector seen in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Felipe Massa by three tenths as Williams annexed the second row, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo making a big improvement on his final run to take fifth.
Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button, although the McLaren driver has to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Kevin Magnussen, in the second McLaren, was eighth, beating Kimi Raikkonen by a tenth of a second.
Adrian Sutil made it through to Q3, the first time a Sauber has reached the top 10 shootout this season.
Unlike the rest of those who reached Q3, Sutil only attempted one run and ended up 10th.
Thanks to the absence of Caterham and Marussia, four drivers were eliminated in each of the first two stages of qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado narrowly missed out on his first Q3 appearance of the season, ending up 11th after losing an estimated two tenths of a second with a slide in the penultimate corner.
Behind him, Sergio Perez jumped Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg with his final flying lap to take 12th.
Daniil Kvyat complained of tyre temperature problems after his out-lap was compromised by traffic and could only manage 14th.
He will also be hit with a 10-place penalty for changing a power unit component, some of which must now be carried over to next weekend’s Brazilian GP.
Jean-Eric Vergne missed out on making Q2 by just five hundredths of a second, the Toro Rosso driver ending up in 15th place ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.
Sebastian Vettel, who completed a single run on soft tyres as he will start from the pits after a sixth power unit was fitted to his Red Bull, was 17th.
Romain Grosjean was slowest having made a mistake on his sole lap on his final run, locking up the front left wheel under braking for the left-hander at the end of the back straight and running off the track.
But even so, the Franco-Swiss driver suspected he would have been unable to advance to the next stage of qualifying because his Lotus was not as competitive as it was during free practice.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.244s||1.177s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.554s||-|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.598s||-|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.250s||-|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.699s||-|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.621s||-|
Button: Five places for gearbox change
Kvyat: Five places for engine component change
Vettel: Pitlane start for taking sixth power unit
US GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in practice, Nico Rosberg troubled
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the final Formula 1 practice session for the United States Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was only fifth fastest based on pace on the slower medium-compound Pirellis, but in the final 10 minutes he bolted on the soft rubber and went fastest by almost nine tenths of a second.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was second fastest having struggled with a brake problem until the closing stages of the session.
After initially lapping 0.884s slower on his first push lap on softs, with Hamilton failing to improve on his second attempt, Rosberg had the chance to close the gap.
He improved in the first and second sectors, but a scruffy final sector meant that Rosberg was only able to find a gain of one thousandth of a second.
With track temperatures relatively low, the session started slowly with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo setting the pace while the field was on the mediums.
He outpaced Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa before the field switched to the softs.
It was the Williams drivers who ended up as best of the rest on qualifying performance, with Massa third fastest ahead of Bottas.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who briefly topped the times after becoming the first frontrunner to set a fast time on softs, ended up fifth ahead of Ricciardo.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, while Adrian Sutil put in a rare Sauber appearance in the top 10 with an impressive eighth fastest.
2007 and ’09 world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button were ninth and 10th, ahead of the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and the lead Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.
Toro Rosso endured a disappointing session, with Daniil Kvyat its quickest driver down in 15th after setting strong times on Friday.
This was possibly down to a loss of power, while team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne’s session was cut short by an engine problem and ended up 17th behind Esteban Gutierrez.
Sebastian Vettel was slowest, having focused on race set-up work because he will start from the pitlane following the introduction of his sixth power unit.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.927s||1.820s||16|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.960s||1.853s||20|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.582s||2.475s||21|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.688s||2.581s||19|
|17||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.443s||4.336s||12|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.765s||6.658s||25|