Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg say the threat of rain in Brazil could give them the chance to surprise the top teams in the final race of the 2011 F1 season.
The pair have enjoyed a solid if not spectacular campaign with Mercedes, emerging as best of the rest behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari but failing to really challenge the top three teams.
However, Friday practice at Interlagos saw Schumacher post the fifth quickest time – just a tenth down on Fernando Alonso in fourth – and the seven-time title winner said he felt in good shape for the season finale, with the possibility that rain could allow him to challenge for a strong end to the year.
"We had quite a good day here in Interlagos and were able to work through our schedule consistently, even if the track was pretty slippery,” he said. “The lap times are traditionally very tight here so let's see what we can do in qualifying tomorrow.
“For the rest of the weekend, the weather forecast is for rain, so maybe we will see some surprises as we reach the end of the season."
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was eighth quickest in the sister car and he too admitted that the possibility of rain would boost his chances of a surprise result.
"The conditions out there were quite difficult today as the track was a bit slippery,” he said. “However our times were quite good and not too far away from the top cars. We learned a lot on high and low fuel levels during the sessions. As the weather forecast is rain, it's difficult to make a prediction for tomorrow. Maybe if it rains, it will be a bit easier to surprise the top teams."