Nico Rosberg has finished quickest in the first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix after making the best of the wet conditions at Interlagos to head up a Mercedes one-two as Lewis Hamilton finished in second place, four-tenths down on his teammate.
Rosberg posted a fastest lap of 1:24.781 on the intermediate tire early on as rain prevented Pirelli from testing its prototype dry compound for next season as planned. The weather it did catch out many of the drivers including the German driver who took a trip through the run-off area at the first corner. Jenson Button followed suit, whilst Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez also spun, but all were able to continue. Daniil Kvyat, James Calado and Rodolfo Gonzalez all deputized for a full-time driver in FP1, and Russian youngster Kvyat was impressive in the wet as he finished the session in eighth place and over half a second ahead of his 2014 teammate, Jean-Eric Vergne.
Halfway through the session, world champion Sebastian Vettel tentatively went out on slick tires, only to find that conditions had in fact worsened, meaning that any improvements were unlikely. The German driver was forced to settle for third place on Friday morning as he goes in search of a record-equalling ninth consecutive win, and even he made a rare mistake at turn twelve.
As the rain grew heavier, the times remained unchanged through the second half of the session, meaning that Rosberg finished fastest ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.
With rain forecast for the rest of the weekend, this result bodes well for Mercedes. However, judging by the number of drivers who were caught out by the damp conditions, it could be a question of keeping out of trouble and staying on track.