Nico Rosberg recovered from morning brake issues to top the timesheets in second practice ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver finished 0.245 seconds clear of Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished third to split the Mercedes drivers as Lewis Hamilton finished in fourth place, almost half a second behind Rosberg.
Grip had been at a premium on the slippery new track surface in the first session and it was a similarly story in the second session. FP1 pacesetter Max Verstappen was the first to be caught out, the Toro Rosso driver spinning at the final corner. He hit the wall hard badly damaging the left side of his car. The crash ended his running for the day.
Valtteri Bottas was the next to encounter trouble. The Finn’s Williams snapped out at high speed on the run to the first corner and he smashed the nose cone off his car.
The afternoon session began in dry conditions with all cars on the medium-compound tyre. The pace in this opening phase was set by Lewis Hamilton whose lap of 1:24.016 put him two tenths clear of Kvyat, with Sebastian Vettel third ahead of Rosberg and Ricciardo. The champion elect then joined those struggling for grip with a spin at Turn Five, but he continued.
Spots of rain began to fall and as the skies over the Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez began to grow darker and Sergio Perez decided the time was right to bolt on the option soft tyres and go for a qualifying simulation.
The local favourite didn’t initially exploit the potential of the tyre, a brief off putting him fourth on the timesheet.
Despite the grip issues the threat of rain led to a mass switcxh to the soft rubber and Rosberg was able to get the most out of the change, claiming P1 with a lap of 1:21.531.
Rosberg was then assured of top spot when light but steady rain began to fall in the final 25 minutes of the session, preventing any further improvements.
With Hamilton fourth behind Ricciardo and Kvyat, fifth place went to Sebastian Vettel with Raikkonen sixth in the second Ferrari. Bottas recovered from his early crash to record the seventh best time of the session.
McLaren-Honda had a useful afternoon with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finishing eighth and ninth respectively. Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten for Williams.
2015 Mexican Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.531 36
2 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:21.776 +0.245 27
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:21.868 +0.337 28
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.961 +0.430 33
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.984 +0.453 32
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.399 +0.868 33
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.721 +1.190 28
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:22.993 +1.462 36
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1:23.109 +1.578 25
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.289 +1.758 32
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:23.290 +1.759 34
12 Pastor Maldonado Team Lotus 1:23.363 +1.832 24
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:23.364 +1.833 41
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:23.430 +1.899 39
15 Sergio Perez Force India 1:23.597 +2.066 33
16 Romain Grosjean Team Lotus 1:23.614 +2.083 26
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:24.533 +3.002 34
18 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:25.940 +4.409 29
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:26.968 +5.437 28
– Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 2
Image: Mercedes AMG F1