Nico Rosberg made the most of the low grip in Mexico to slide his way into P1 on Friday afternoon, finishing ahead of the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.
Despite the dark clouds and gloomy conditions, FP2 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez began in the dry with the track temperature up to 41’C.
The session wasn’t green for long before the red flag was waved as Max Verstappen crashed at the final corner. The Toro Rosso rookie lost control on the slippery surface and smacked the barriers, damaging the left side of his STR10.
Practice resumed after the marshals cleared away the car but some 10 minutes later there was another shunt at Valtteri Bottas hit the wall at Turn 1. Losing the back end of his FW37 under braking, Bottas nosed the wall at pace shaving off the car’s front wing.
Lewis Hamilton set the early pace on the medium tyres with a 1:23.290, two-tenths up on Kvyat, but a swap to the soft tyres had the other Mercedes of Rosberg come to the fore as he crossed the line with a 1:21.531. Kvyat finished in second place, 0.245s off the pace.
Daniel Ricciardo ensured it was a great afternoon for Red Bull as he was third quickest, a tenth up on Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Bottas and the McLaren of Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard was 1.462s slower than Rosberg.
As the drivers swapped to race simulations light rain began to fall making the track even more slippery.
Romain Grosjean brought out the day’s second red flag as he stopped his E23 at Turn 10. He informed his team over the radio that he thought there was a problem with the clutch.
With the rain coming down harder in the final 10 minutes one by one the drivers headed back into the pits. Some opted for a late run on the inters, others decided to stay dry.
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.531 36 laps
2 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:21.776 +0.245 27 laps
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:21.868 +0.337 28 laps
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.961 +0.430 33 laps
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.984 +0.453 33 laps
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.399 +0.868 34 laps
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.721 +1.190 28 laps
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:22.993 +1.462 36 laps
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1:23.109 +1.578 25 laps
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.289 +1.758 32 laps
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:23.290 +1.759 34 laps
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:23.363 +1.832 24 laps
13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:23.364 +1.833 41 laps
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:23.430 +1.899 38 laps
15 Sergio Perez Force India 1:23.597 +2.066 33 laps
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.614 +2.083 27 laps
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:24.533 +3.002 34 laps
18 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:25.940 +4.409 29 laps
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:26.968 +5.437 28 laps
20 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso No time 3 laps