Nico Rosberg has closed out Friday’s practice running for the Brazilian Grand Prix on top of the timesheets ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The German matched the advantage Hamilton had in the first practice session – finishing almost half-a-second clear on the stopwatch – although he was quick to downplay the gap to his three-time World Championship-winning teammate.

His fastest time of 1:12.385 came at the midpoint of the session on a Soft compound tyre run – some 0.458 seconds faster than what Hamilton was able to muster – while the Ferrari pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were third- and fourth-fastest, although a second off the pace.

Daniel Ricciardo shadowed the Ferraris, finishing one-tenth slower in his Red Bull Racing RB11 which, despite running an upgraded Renault engine, was still lacking in outright power, according to the Australian.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was sixth-fastest, although the Finn’s session featured plenty of drama. He had a half-spin through the Pinheirinho corner and was also reported for overtaking Sauber’s Felipe Nasr while the red flags were thrown during the session when Fernando Alonso was forced to park his McLaren-Honda with flames licking out the rear of his car.

Bottas was subsequently issued with a three-place grid penalty by the FIA Stewards, who felt that he had failed to take the necessary measures to avoid overtaking the Brazilian on their return to the pits.

Having handed the controls of his Lotus E23 over to his 2016 replacement in FP1, Jolyon Palmer, Romain Grosjean was seventh-fastest ahead of Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg. The sister Red Bull and Williams cars of Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa completed the top ten runners on the timesheets.

There was a tight squabble in the lower midfield, with the second Force India and Lotus of Sergio Pérez and Pastor Maldonado finishing eleventh- and twelfth-fastest ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr. The two Toro Rossos of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr were next up, with Verstappen having a spin at Laranjinha. All five drivers were covered by just three-tenths of a second.

McLaren-Honda had another trying session, with Alonso losing valuable track time after his stoppage. Teammate Jenson Button finished a lowly 16th-fastest, some 2.2 seconds off Rosberg’s leading pace – the two World Champions were split by the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.

The Manor Marussias locked out their traditional spots at the bottom of the timesheets, although this time it was Will Stevens who outpaced Alexander Rossi.

The final practice session at Interlagos takes place on Saturday at 11:00 local time (GMT -2) ahead of qualifying at 14:00.

Formula 1 Grande Prêmio Petrobras do Brasil 2015 – Free Practice 2 Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:12.385 42
2. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:12.843 + 0.458 39
3. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:13.345 + 0.960 41
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:13.500 + 1.115 43
5. Daniel Ricciardo au Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:13.585 + 1.200 39
6. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:13.603 + 1.218 37
7. Romain Grosjean fr Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:13.634 + 1.249 45
8. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:13.710 + 1.325 43
9. Daniil Kvyat ru Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:13.848 + 1.463 40
10. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:13.870 + 1.485 42
11. Sergio Pérez mx Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:14.056 + 1.671 34
12. Pastor Maldonado ve Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:14.124 + 1.739 42
13. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:14.134 + 1.749 44
14. Max Verstappen nl Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:14.226 + 1.841 35
15. Carlos Sainz es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:14.326 + 1.941 45
16. Jenson Button uk McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:14.644 + 2.259 37
17. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:14.772 + 2.387 38
18. Fernando Alonso es McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:15.129 + 2.744 10
19. Will Stevens uk Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:16.501 + 4.116 35
20. Alexander Rossi us Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:16.787 + 4.402 35

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.