Mexican Grand Prix - Free practice results (2)
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg says that the pace of Ferrari had surprised him after Friday's practice sessions in Mexico, which saw less than one-hundredth of a second split the two constructors.
Sebastian Vettel was the main threat to Mercedes in on Friday, as the German matched Lewis Hamilton's best time – albeit on a softer tyre – in FP1 while Hamilton was able to extract the most out of the medium compound.
The Ferrari driver then topped the second practice session, narrowly edging Hamilton's Mercedes by just 0.004 seconds, this time on the same super soft tyre.
Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen was breathing down the neck of Rosberg in the second practice session for third position, as only 0.034 seconds separated the two drivers at the end of FP2 with both drivers also setting their time on the super softs.
BREAKING POINT: These F1 races really push drivers and cars to the limit
As of recent races, the talking point after Friday practice has been whether Red Bull could challenge Mercedes for the race win. This time however, the Scuderia seems to have leapfrogged the drinks giant into contention for a podium finish on Sunday.
“Ferrari [was] a surprise also,” Rosberg said after practice Friday. “They were pretty quick. But to get the most out of it that's the same every time.”
There was a mixture of strategies during the two practice sessions which clouded the true pace of certain teams; Rosberg ran the medium tyre while Hamilton favoured the soft. With the track expected evolve continuously over the weekend, drivers were forced to adapt their driving style to maximise the pace of their car.
“I was focused on running the harder tyres today in my programme, Lewis was more focusing more on the softer tyres. That made it a little more difficult for the one-lap performance and everything, but in the long run everything seems to be going in the right way.
“It was very cold and that made the cars very, very nervous and quite a challenge, quite a handful to drive out there. It was interesting, let's see how the temperatures go for the rest of the weekend.”
by Josh Kruse
MEXICAN GP: Six things to watch out for in Mexico City!
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst