Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the second practice session ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix. The German was .004 of a second faster than Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The Ferrari appeared to just to have the edge with Vettel going just.31 of a second off the pace that Rosberg set in qualifying last year. Hamilton looked to be able to get very close to the German being within a tenth, but had difficulties on the qualifying simulations.
This weekend is a Key one for Rosberg, who could become the world champion if he wins the race with Hamilton lower than tenth. Hamilton told Sky Sports “The track is feeling better than it did last year and I feel a lot more comfortable in the car than I did the first time we came to this circuit.”
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest a further four tenths down on Rosberg but was ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
The layout of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez provides Red Bull with a challenge as its highlights their aerodynamic strength and their weakness with the lack of power from the Tag Heuer badged Renault engine. Since the summer the team has been the main challenger to Mercedes.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth splitting the Red Bull’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. While the Williams of Valtteri Bottas being the last driver to be within a second of Vettel. Carlos Sainz was ninth but he lost time on his best time on the long straight.
Fernando Alonso was tenth and the McLaren driver looked good on the long straights despite the power defect that they have with the Honda engine. Daniil Kvyat and Jenson Button were 11th and 12th, roughly 0.19s off their respective teammates.
Tyre suppler Pirelli told BBC News that it was difficult to draw conclusions from the day’s running and that the competitive picture would be clearer once more rubber had been laid down on the track on Saturday morning.
It was a difficult session for the two Mexican drives, Force India’s Sergio Perez only managing fifteenth and Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez last. While the other Haas of Romain Grosjean was struggling because of a electrical issue on his car after a single lap.