Nico Rosberg put in a late dash on the intermediate tyres to claim the Friday double in Brazil where he finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
With heavy rain starting to fall half an hour before FP2 got underway – and wet tyres at a premium – it was a very slow start to the session. Max Chilton was the first to venture out only to pit after one lap informing his team of “standing water” and “unideal” conditions.
Heikki Kovalainen eventually posted the first time of the session, a 1:31.658, which was seven seconds down on this morning’s P1 time. Kovalainen shaved four-tenths off his next lap and seven-tenths off the next. Mark Webber slotted into second place on his first lap but on his third went quickest by 1.449s ahead of Kovalainen. They, along with Giedo van der Garde, Jules Bianchi and Charles Pic, were the only drivers to set times in the first 30 minutes.
It was all change when this morning’s pace-setter Nico Rosberg headed out as the Mercedes driver immediately went quickest with a 1:28.873. Rosberg didn’t go for a second lap, telling his team “that’s enough for me” before returning to the pits.
15 minutes later there were 12 times on the board with Rosberg holding down the P1 slot ahead of Webber and Romain Grosjean while Daniel Ricciardo had climbed to fourth place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Kovalainen.
It was a strange set-up to the session as barring a handful of drivers it was almost like they were going out one by one, putting in a flying lap or two and then heading back into the pits to save tyres. However in the final 20 minutes they could at least swap to the intermediate tyres.
Fernando Alonso jumped to third place while Sebastian Vettel took fifth before improving to second. The four-time World Champ was 0.066s down on Rosberg. Rosberg fought back on the inters, extending his advantage only for Vettel to destroy him with a 1:27.993, 0.7s quicker than the Merc.
Vettel lowered the benchmark again to a 1:27.531 with Webber climbing to second place behind his team-mate. However, a late dash from Rosberg put him ahead of the Bulls with a 1:27.306. Vettel was 0.225s down with Webber third, 0.286s off the pace.
Kovalainen jumped to fourth ahead of Hamilton, Jean-Eric Vergne and Felipe Massa, who is contesting his final grand prix for Ferrari. Hulkenberg finished in eighth place.
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.306 12 laps
02 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:27.531 +0.225 10 laps
03 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:27.592 +0.286 18 laps
04 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:28.129 +0.823 13 laps
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.147 +0.841 9 laps
06 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:28.405 +1.099 11 laps
07 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.540 +1.234 9 laps
08 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:28.560 +1.254 20 laps
09 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:28.739 +1.433 20 laps
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:28.891 +1.585 12 laps
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:28.928 +1.622 10 laps
12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:29.049 +1.743 17 laps
13 Paul di Resta Force India 1:29.174 +1.868 11 laps
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:29.717 +2.411 13 laps
15 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:29.783 +2.477 7 laps
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:30.425 +3.11 15 laps
17 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:30.748 +3.442 8 laps
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:31.061 +3.755 18 laps
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:31.118 +3.812 16 laps
20 Charles Pic Caterham 1:31.165 +3.859 15 laps
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:31.211 +3.905 19 laps
22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.770 +4.464 6 laps
Friday’s Action From Interlagos