Mercedes drivers on top in practice but lament lack of long-run data


Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both came away from Interlagos pleased with their day of practice running ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, but lamented the lack of long-run data following four red flag periods.

Dani Juncadella, Jean-Eric Vergne, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez all had incidents out on track during practice on Friday that warranted red flag periods, thus denying the field meaningful long runs.

With just one hour of practice left before qualifying and the race, it is likely that the teams will have to work with what little data they have on the newly-resurfaced circuit in Sao Paulo, but both Rosberg and Hamilton are expecting conditions to be slightly kinder over the rest of the weekend.

“That was a good day and we are very quick again at this circuit,” Rosberg said. “The track has a new surface which made it quite tricky. It’s smooth and not quite so bumpy as it has been in the past, but the tires were blistering because of the high temperatures and the new asphalt.

“That was a bit worrying, but we are expecting it to be a bit cooler over the weekend. I’m looking forward to tomorrow – it should be a great battle.”

Rosberg is looking to cut into Hamilton’s 24-point lead at the top of the standings in Brazil this weekend, and although he sent out a statement of intent by finishing as the quickest driver in both of Friday’s sessions, Hamilton said that he did not hook up a quick lap time in FP2.

“The car felt good today,” the Briton said. “There are a few improvements we can make but I just didn’t manage to put a lap together out there. That’s not a big issue, though. It’s just practice so that’s what we’re out there trying to do.

‘I’m not sure how many laps we’ll get out of the tires as there were quite a few red flags at the end so we didn’t get the best opportunity for long runs but that’s the same for everyone. It’s hard to tell where the tires are compared to 2013 with the different compounds as we didn’t have any dry running until the race last year.

“Otherwise the circuit felt good. It’s nice and smooth and the grip is good. It’s different every time we come here and you never know what the weather is going to do. But that’s what makes this such an exciting race.”