FP1: Rosberg sets the early pace


A slippery first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix belonged to the Mercedes drivers with Nico Rosberg winning the battle against Lewis Hamilton.

Trading blows in the 30 minutes on the newly resurfaced track, which caught out several drivers, Hamilton lowered the benchmark to a 1:13.469, which put him 0.533s ahead of Rosberg.

The tussle, though, was by no means over.

Heading out for a second run, Hamilton went quicker but could not hold off his team-mate. Rosberg crossed the line to lead with a 1:12.764, 0.704s up, with 30 minutes remaining.

The session flagged shortly after as Daniel Juncadella became the first driver to crash on a morning when many had problems with the slippery surface.

He lost control of his VJM and slammed into the barrier at Turn 8, burying the nose of the Force India in the tyre wall. It was a hard lick but thankfully the driver climbed out unaided.

FP1 resumed after eight minutes, however, there was no change at the top with Rosberg’s 1:12.764 holding through to the chequered flag. Hamilton did close the gap but only to 0.221s.

Daniil Kvyat finished third quickest in an impressive start for Toro Rosso as test driver and 2015 race driver Max Verstappen was sixth.

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa split the team-mates, the duo 0.978s and 1.047s respectively off the pace, while Pastor Maldonado was seventh quickest for Lotus.

Kimi Raikkonen, who twice spun off the track bringing out the yellow flags, was eighth.

The Finn, though, was not the only driver caught out by the slippery nature of the newly surfaced track with several drivers having offs, slides or spins.

But while they were dealing with the track, Jenson Button spent most of his session stuck in the pits with an ERS issue while Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber had an electrical problem. Button did just one lap before breaking down at the entrance to the pit lane while Gutierrez managed six.

01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:12.764 30 laps
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.985 +0.221 32 laps
03 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:13.723 +0.959 39 laps
04 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.742 +0.978 30 laps
05 Felipe Massa Williams 1:13.811 +1.047 28 laps
06 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:13.827 +1.063 26 laps
07 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:14.034 +1.270 31 laps
08 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:14.114 +1.350 32 laps
09 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:14.136 +1.372 30 laps
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:14.197 +1.433 27 laps
11 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:14.434 +1.670 31 laps
12 Felipe Nasr Williams 1:14.522 +1.758 22 laps
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:14.678 +1.914 33 laps
14 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:14.902 +2.138 24 laps
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:15.109 +2.345 23 laps
16 Daniel Juncadella Force India 1:16.030 +3.266 17 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber No time 6 laps
Jenson Button McLaren No time 1 lap