The inter-team battle at Mercedes resumed at the Interlagos circuit on Saturday morning with Lewis Hamilton coming out tops in FP3.
Following overnight rain the sun baked down on the Interlagos circuit ahead of final practice, resulting in a track temperature of 41’C at the start of the hour.
With the Mercedes pairing late to arrive – Paddy Lowe confirmed his drivers were waiting for others to clean the track after the rain – it was left to Ferrari to lead the way.
Kimi Raikkonen overhauled Sergio Perez to top the timesheet with a 1:14.098 but that was bettered by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel. A 1:14.062 for the four-time World Champion.
Lewis Hamilton finally ventured out at the 20-minute but his first run was cut short when he stopped at Turn 10. The Brit reported that he had “lost gears.” Whatever the issue was it was soon resolved with the Brit’s W06 back up and running but heading back into the pits.
Nico Rosberg followed his team-mate out on track and fared much better as he went quickest with a 1:13.753. However, Hamilton was back into the action minutes later and put his problems behind him with a 1:13.647.
And so began a brief battle between the Mercedes pairing for the P1. Rosberg again went quickest and Hamilton responded with a fastest first sector only to lose the rear of his W06 and slide off the track at Turn 11.
Swapping to the soft tyres, Red Bull worked their way towards the front with Daniel Ricciardo up to second and Daniil Kvyat up to fourth. But they then had to wait for others to put in their qualifying sims and soon found themselves dropping well down the order.
Hamilton went quickest on his with a 1:12.070 while Rosberg was fastest in the first sector but failed to carry that through into the second and third. He finished P2, 0.123s down on his team-mate.
Vettel was third for Ferrari ahead of Raikkonen was Ferrari once again took the role of best of the rest ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
Nico Hulkenberg was sixth ahead of Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.070 16 laps
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:12.193 +0.123 19 laps
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.760 +0.690 19 laps
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:13.096 +1.026 20 laps
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:13.335 +1.265 25 laps
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:13.345 +1.275 19 laps
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.437 +1.367 20 laps
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1:13.506 +1.436 18 laps
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:13.534 +1.464 20 laps
10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:13.548 +1.478 21 laps
11 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:13.572 +1.502 23 laps
12 Felipe Massa Williams 1:13.742 +1.672 24 laps
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:13.829 +1.759 17 laps
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:13.850 +1.780 19 laps
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:13.959 +1.889 24 laps
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:14.185 +2.115 24 laps
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:14.288 +2.218 22 laps
18 Jenson Button McLaren 1:14.445 +2.375 17 laps
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:16.671 +4.601 15 laps
20 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:17.059 +4.989 16 laps