• Brazilian Grand Prix - FP2

Rosberg completes Friday clean sweep in Brazil rain

ESPN Staff
November 22, 2013
© Associated Press

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of second practice to top both wet sessions on Friday ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Having headed his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the morning session, Rosberg was top for the majority of a quiet session before late laps from the two Red Bulls knocked him down to third. However, after putting on intermediate tyres in the closing stages Rosberg set the fastest time to beat Sebastian Vettel by 0.225s and show that Mercedes could be a threat in wet conditions.

Vettel was just 0.061s clear of team-mate Mark Webber in FP2 as both were early on to the intermediates. The majority of the session prior to that had been spent on the full wets or in the garage as a heavy shower just before the start ensured full wet tyres were the only option when the pit lane opened, with only a few drivers willing to brave the conditions. Despite persistent rain throughout, an ease in the intensity in the final 20 minutes meant drivers were able to take a punt on the intermediate tyres.

With more cars on track clearing the water - only 12 cars bothered heading out in the first 50 minutes - conditions improved rapidly in sector one, but times were still falling short of Rosberg's second sector until the final seven minutes. Vettel then emerged with a series of quick laps to better Rosberg's time, only for the Mercedes driver to hit back with a quicker attempt two minutes before the end.

Heikki Kovalainen's late lap left him an encouraging fourth on just his second weekend with Lotus, edging out Lewis Hamilton. The 0.8s gap between the two Mercedes could perhaps be attributed to a bit of caution from Hamilton, who had a high-speed spin at Turn 5 on his first run on the intermediate tyre but managed to recover the car. Hamilton admitted after the session that "it's been the worst year of wet running in my whole career".

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo both ended the session in the top ten as the Toro Rosso looked strong in the wet conditions, while Jenson Button opted to do little running and finished slowest of the 22 runners.

The conditions did not improve sufficiently to allow any of the drivers to attempt a lap on the 2014 development tyres Pirelli brought to Brazil in the hope of gaining much-needed data for the end of the year.

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