Nico Rosberg pips Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in final practice

Published: Saturday 26th September 2015 by The News Editor

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Nico Rosberg set the pace in the first dry running of this week’s Japanese Grand Prix.

After Friday’s washout in Suzuka, Rosberg led home a Mercedes one-two ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton as normal service was resumed following Mercedes’ off-colour display in Singapore last weekend.

Mercedes were confident their sluggish performance in the heat and humidity of Singapore’s unique Marina Street Bay Circuit was track-specific.

And with Rosberg and Hamilton heading the timesheets in Suzuka, it would appear as though the Silver Arrows, who have dominated the sport for the best part of two seasons, are back on track here.

Rosberg’s best lap of one minute and 33.995 seconds saw the German end the session 0.297 seconds faster than Hamilton, who he trails by 41 points in the championship with six races left.

Daniel Ricciardo was next up in his Red Bull, half a second adrift of Rosberg, with the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa the only other drivers to finish within a second of Rosberg’s Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel, winner last time out in Singapore, was only eighth fastest, 1.2 seconds slower than Rosberg. His Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fared slightly better in sixth, but was still 1.087 seconds behind Rosberg.

Jenson Button looks set to bring the curtain down on his career at the end of the season after Jonathan Neale, the team’s managing director, hinted that the 2009 world champion was not interested in staying with the team beyond this campaign.

He finished 12th in Saturday morning’s final practice – over two seconds slower than Rosberg. His session ended prematurely with a damaged floor. Fernando Alonso, in the sister McLaren, was a lowly 16th.

Elsewhere, Max Verstappen was an impressive seventh for Toro Rosso with Vettel in eighth, Romain Grosjean ninth in his Lotus. and Carlos Sainz in the other Toro Rosso rounding out the top 10.

Published: Saturday 26th September 2015 by The News Editor

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