Japanese GP: Nico Rosberg leads Mercedes one-two in dry practice

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton gave Mercedes a one-two in final Japanese Grand Prix practice as the Formula 1 field got its first dry running of the weekend at Suzuka

Japanese GP: Nico Rosberg leads Mercedes one-two in dry practice

Rosberg clocked a 1m33.995s on the medium tyres to finish 0.297 seconds clear of Hamilton with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo two tenths further adrift in third.

The leading Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was only sixth quickest, one second off the pace, with team-mate and Singapore Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel two tenths further back.

Persistent rain on Friday left drivers with big programmes to complete in Saturday practice to gather data for qualifying and race.

They wasted little time getting out on track, with Ricciardo setting the early pace on the hard tyres on a 1m36.392s.

The Australian was one of the first to do his qualifying-simulation run on the mediums, improving by 1.3s, before switching his attention to long runs.

But Mercedes then sent Rosberg and Hamilton out on the mediums and they were able to put clear air over the rest of the field, suggesting they will be the ones to beat in qualifying later on Saturday.

The Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas slotted into fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of both Ferraris, with Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen seventh.

Romain Grosjean was the leading Lotus in ninth with Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr completing the top 10.

Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg was 11th ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, who complained of "massive understeer" early in the session, and Marcus Ericsson's Sauber.

Daniil Kvyat had a messy session, running wide at Spoon and the Degner curves, and ended the session 11th, 1.7s slower than Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo.

Lotus's Pastor Maldonado was 15th, ahead of McLaren's Fernando Alonso, Force India's Sergio Perez and Felipe Nasr in the Sauber.

Will Stevens won the battle of the Manors, 0.116s quicker than team-mate Alexander Rossi.

PRACTICE THREE TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.995s - 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.292s 0.297s 20
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m34.497s 0.502s 22
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m34.797s 0.802s 27
5 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m34.934s 0.939s 25
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m35.082s 1.087s 16
7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m35.160s 1.165s 26
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m35.222s 1.227s 16
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m35.602s 1.607s 20
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m35.963s 1.968s 29
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m36.110s 2.115s 19
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m36.174s 2.179s 15
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.199s 2.204s 19
14 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m36.294s 2.299s 23
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m36.307s 2.312s 21
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m36.360s 2.365s 18
17 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m36.430s 2.435s 21
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.919s 2.924s 24
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m39.653s 5.658s 24
20 Alexander Rossi Marussia/Ferrari 1m39.819s 5.824s 22

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