FP3: Rosberg leads Mercedes 1-2

Date published: October 31 2015

Nico Rosberg pipped Lewis Hamilton to the P1 in FP3, 0.014s up, while Red Bull once again gave the Mercedes drivers a battle in Mexico.

Saturday’s final practice took place under gloomy skies with a threat of rain for later in the day.

As the drivers once again struggled with grip as well as getting their tyres up to temperature, Max Verstappen, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg all had a brief turn in P1.

But as seen on Friday, and still rather unexpected given the long straight, Red Bull came to the fore. Daniil Kvyat set the pace before he was overhauled by his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo with a 1:22.502.

But that didn’t last for long as Lewis Hamilton went quickest on the medium tyres with a 1:21.840 while Nico Rosberg made it a Mercedes 1-2 on the mediums. He was, however, half a second down on his team-mate’s best.

Swapping to the soft tyres for qualifying simulations Rosberg hit the front with a 1:21.205. He lowered that to a 1:21.083 while Hamilton’s blew his first flying lap on the softs as he got it wrong at Turn 1 and mowed the grass.

His second attempt pushed him up to second, 0.067s off his team-mate’s pace, while his third closed the gap to 0.014s.

Daniel Ricciardo finished third behind the Mercedes drivers, 0.118s down, while Sebastian Vettel was fourth.

His team-mate, though, didn’t have such good fortune as Kimi Raikkonen’s morning ended after just four laps. The Ferrari driver pulled over on the side of the track to park his SF15-T reporting “no power, smoke coming out.”

But he wasn’t the only driver who barely managed to get in any running.

Jenson Button’s woes continued on Saturday morning. A sensor problem with his engine that was cutting the power to his rear tyres necessitated yet another engine change for Button.

Honda reverted to one of those that had caused the McLaren driver problems on Friday but are confident they’ve resolved that issue. Button managed just four laps in FP3.

Times
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.083 23 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.097 +0.014 23 laps
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:21.201 +0.118 21 laps
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.294 +0.211 24 laps
5 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:21.530 +0.447 27 laps
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1:21.603 +0.520 27 laps
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:21.772 +0.689 26 laps
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:21.775 +0.692 28 laps
9 Felipe Massa Williams 1:21.945 +0.862 27 laps
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:22.010 +0.927 25 laps
11 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.039 +0.956 31 laps
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:22.042 +0.959 21 laps
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:22.184 +1.101 24 laps
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.871 +1.788 30 laps
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:23.065 +1.982 26 laps
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:23.067 +1.984 23 laps
17 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.648 +3.565 4 laps
18 Will Stevens Manor 1:25.654 +4.571 20 laps
19 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:28.176 +7.093 8 laps
20 Jenson Button McLaren 1:29.336 +8.253 4 laps