Rosberg heads Mercedes 1-2 in wet opening practice in Brazil

Nico Rosberg headed up a Mercedes 1-2 in a race-soaked opening practice session ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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The German’s time of 1:24.781, set on the intermediate Pirelli tyres, was some five tenths quicker than his nearest challenger, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the sister Mercedes, while Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top three for Red Bull.

With the forecast rain arriving prior to the start of the session, the Interlagos circuit was soaked in rain, which continued to fall throughout the 90 minute session, offering the drivers a chance to get to grips with Pirelli’s intermediate tyres on the wet track surface, but at the expense of running on the Italian tyre manufacturers developmental 2014 rubber.

Jenson Button, last year’s winner in Interlagos, topped the early part of the session for McLaren, before Nico Rosberg put in a lap of 1:24.781 to top the timesheets, a position he would not yield for the remainder of the hour and a half session.

Lewis Hamilton, who was lucky to survive a spin at turn three, recovered to finish the session in second, but 0.449 down on his team-mate, while Sebastian Vettel rose to third with a late quick lap, six tenths off Rosberg’s best time.

Jenson Button was fourth, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Mark Webber in the Red Bull, as the Australian competes in his final Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, before heading off to join Porsche in the World Endurance Championship.

Sergio Perez ended the opening session in seventh in the second McLaren, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who was standing in for Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso.

Heikki Kovalainen, who failed to score points in his first race with Lotus last weekend, was ninth overall, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who rounded out the top 10.

James Calado, making his final appearance of the year for Force India ended the session in 18th as the last of the usual midfield runners, ahead of the two Caterham’s of Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, while Jules Bianchi and Rodolfo Gonzalez propped up the field for Marussia.

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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