Nico Rosberg has bounced back from a brake fire in Friday’s opening practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix to lead the way on the timesheets as Friday’s track running drew to a close at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
The Mercedes driver finished ahead of Red Bull Racing duo Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, while newly-crowned three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth-fastest in the sister F1W06 Hybrid.
Rosberg and Hamilton briefly held a 1-2 on the timesheets midway through the session, trading fastest laps after switching to the Soft compound Pirelli tyres. The German eventually came out on top with a fastest time of 1:21.531, before Kvyat and Ricciardo were able to split the Mercedes teammates on the timesheets.
Hopes of any further improvement to lap times were dashed with the arrival of a rain shower in the final 20 minutes of the session, although by that point the field had switched to longer, higher-fuel runs to finalise their set-ups for Sunday’s race.
Fifth and sixth on the timesheets were the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen, ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who had his session disrupted with a slide into the barriers at Turn 1 when he lost control under braking. Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa was tenth-fastest.
The two McLaren-Hondas of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button showed considerable improvement after a poor FP1 showing. Both drivers finished impressively inside the top-ten in their MP4-30s which were fitted with the latest-specification power units, which will see each driver start from the back of the grid thanks to further grid penalties.
Nico Hülkenberg was eleventh-fastest in the session, comfortably ahead of Force India teammate and crowd favourite Sergio Pérez.
It was a rather troubled session for the Lotus F1 Team, which had both of its cars strike trouble. Pastor Maldonado finished up twelfth-fastest in the session but ended his day early after reporting a loss of power.
Teammate Romain Grosjean had his first outing in the car after his 2016 replacement, Jolyon Palmer, ran in FP1. The Frenchman lost crucial track time when he slowed after getting stuck in fourth gear, returning to the pits.
It was also a bit of a reality check for Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen. The Dutch teenager, fastest in FP1 with a time that should have been disallowed for exceeding the track limits, crashed out at Turn 16 on his out-lap from the pits.
Image via XPB Images