Rosberg maintains practice advantage over Hamilton

22

Nico Rosbergbeat Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time for the third practice session in a row at the Brazilian Grand Prix, maintaining his advantage ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Rosberg set a blistering pace of 1:10.446 to finish the session 0.114s clear of the best time set by Hamilton. Rosberg, who is chasing a 24-point deficit to his Mercedes team-mate in the championship, has looked quicker all weekend at Interlagos and more comfortable behind the wheel. Hamilton spun at Turn 1 during a medium-tyre run early in the session and on his fast lap did not look as smooth behind the wheel as his rival. The result leaves Rosberg as the favourite to take his 10th pole position of the season, but wet weather could still mix things up in the afternoon. Felipe Massa was the nearest competitor for Mercedes and hooked up a solid lap to get within 0.429s of Rosberg. If it remains dry Williams looks set to lock out the second row, with Valtteri Bottas fourth fastest and 0.608s off the pace. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was the highest-placed non-Mercedes-powered car and just 0.022s quicker than Jenson Button's McLaren. Button made a good recovery from Friday practice when he admitted he was "nowhere" with his car set-up after ERS problems limited his running in the morning session. Kimi Raikkonen again led Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, although Alonso completed just eight laps as he saved mileage on his power unit. Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten, with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel 1.521s off the fastest time in 11th. Force India finished the session at the bottom of the timesheets as Sergio Perez made up for lost time on Friday. Perez did not complete a single lap in the opening two sessions of the weekend on Friday and therefore had to do all his race preparation on Saturday morning.