Nico Rosberg bounced back after a quiet Friday to finish fastest in the final Formula 1 practice session ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
Rosberg trailed Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton throughout practice on Friday, but rose to the helm of the timesheets in FP3 to give himself a boost heading into qualifying later on Saturday.
Overnight rain left the track damp for the early part of the session, but conditions improved quickly to allow the drivers to complete a good part of their running on dry tires.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull enjoyed stints at the top of the timesheets during the early part of the session, with Daniel Ricciardo leading the way ahead of the qualifying simulations in the final 10 minutes.
Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes drivers to get out for an aggressive run over a single lap, producing a time of 1:11.740. Hamilton ran the championship leader close, but fell 0.093 seconds short of P1 with his best lap.
Ferrari enjoyed a solid session as Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished up third and fourth respectively, suggesting the Italian marque may be in the mix at the front in its fight against Red Bull, whose drivers Max Verstappen and Ricciardo ended up fifth and sixth.
Valtteri Bottas slotted into in seventh place ahead of Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, who charged up to P8 for Renault with a mighty lap. Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 for Williams and McLaren in ninth and 10th place respectively.
The session went by without any major incidents, with the most notable issue being the appearance of an errant umbrella on the track in the early part of the session. Thankfully, a quick-footed marshal was able to recover it without it affecting any of the drivers.
Qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 11am ET on Saturday.