Interlagos FP3: Rosberg edges ahead as Ferrari emerge

nico rosberg f1

Nico Rosberg topped the timing screens at the end of the third and final free practice session of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, bettering his Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton as  Ferrari showed their hand for the first time in the past two days.

Interlagos was damp at the start, but rapidly dried with Rosberg ending the hour session with a best time of 1:11.740, enjoying a small advantage, 0.093 of a second, over Hamilton. It was the best lap time of the three practice sessions.

Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were next best, in second and third respectively. Vettel’s best within two tenths of the top time.

Not far off the pace of the Reds was Max Verstappen in fifth, ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in sixth. The top six separated by half a second, setting the stage for what should be an exciting qualifying session and an intriguing race.

Valtteri Bottas was seventh fastest, with local hero and teammate Felipe Massa ninth. The Williams pair split by an inspired Jolyon Palmer in the Renault.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten.

It was bad news for Sauber and Marcuis Ericsson who completed only one timed lap before pitting and the team deciding an engine change was required.

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos – Saturday, Free Practice 3

POS NO DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:11.740 19
2 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:11.833 +0.093s 21
3 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:11.959 +0.219s 14
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:12.027 +0.287s 16
5 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:12.077 +0.337s 19
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:12.287 +0.547s 21
7 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:12.614 +0.874s 27
8 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1:12.968 +1.228s 19
9 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:12.990 +1.250s 26
10 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:13.002 +1.262s 12
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:13.203 +1.463s 14
12 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:13.231 +1.491s 19
13 20 Kevin Magnussen RENAULT 1:13.255 +1.515s 15
14 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:13.293 +1.553s 20
15 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:13.344 +1.604s 15
16 21 Esteban Gutierrez HAAS FERRARI 1:13.596 +1.856s 16
17 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:13.609 +1.869s 13
18 22 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA 1:13.750 +2.010s 9
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein MRT MERCEDES 1:13.972 +2.232s 20
20 12 Felipe Nasr SAUBER FERRARI 1:13.992 +2.252s 14
21 31 Esteban Ocon MRT MERCEDES 1:14.222 +2.482s 21
22 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1