Nico Rosberg tops timesheets in Mexico GP second practice

Published: Friday 30th October 2015 by The News Editor

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Nico Rosberg bounced back from his championship-ending error in Austin to set the pace in second practice for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Rosberg, who blamed a big gust of wind for the mistake which handed the title to Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, posted a best lap of one minute and 21.531 seconds on Formula One’s first visit to Mexico since 1992.

Rosberg was 0.245 secs faster than the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat with his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo third fastest.

Hamilton, who became the first Briton to successfully defend his Formula One crown in Austin’s chaotic race, was fourth fastest, 0.430 sec slower than his Mercedes team-mate.

Max Verstappen was the surprise pacesetter in Friday’s opening practice session at the revamped Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which is situated 2,250 metres above sea level.

But the 18-year-old went from hero to zero after he crashed his Toro Rosso in the opening moments of the day’s final session.

Verstappen lost control of his Toro Rosso on the exit of the stadium section and hit the barrier to sustain damage to the front-left side of his car. The Dutchman emerged from his cockpit but the red flags were deployed and he would take no further part in the 90-minute session.

With Verstappen’s car removed from danger, the session was back up and running and it was Rosberg’s Mercedes which was soon leading the way.

The German is bidding to salvage second in the championship – he is currently four points adrift of Sebastian Vettel with three races remaining – and he will no doubt be pleased with his start to the weekend’s proceedings. Vettel finished the session in fifth, marginally slower than Hamilton.

Formula One is back in Mexico City for the first time in more than two decades, but the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez venue has changed significantly since the sport’s last visit here.

Most notably, the hell-raising Peraltada turn, deemed too dangerous by modern Formula One safety standards, has been replaced by a slower, stadium section.

Nigel Mansell, Britain’s 1992 world champion, earned hero status among Mexican fans for his audacious passing manoeuvre around the outside of Gerhard Berger at the Peraltada in 1990, a nd the circuit organisers have renamed the final turn of the modified layout in his honour.

As the session progressed spots of rain began to fall in Mexico City, but it was nothing like the biblical weather witnessed in Austin last week. Indeed most of the cars could continue to run until the latter moments of the session.

McLaren will be buoyed by their pace on Friday afternoon. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are both due to start at the back of the pack after being handed grid penalties due to Formula One’s complicated engine rules.

But Alonso and Button, running Honda’s latest-specification engine for the first time here, finished eighth and ninth respectively on Friday afternoon.

The Finnish duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas were sixth and seventh while Felipe Massa was 10th fastest. Sergio Perez, whose every movement was cheered by the patriotic home crowd, finished the day’s running in 15th.

Published: Friday 30th October 2015 by The News Editor

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