Rosberg outpaces F1 title rival Hamilton in Brazilian GP practice

Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg beat title rival Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix at an overcast Interlagos

Rosberg outpaces F1 title rival Hamilton in Brazilian GP practice

Rosberg, who can clinch the title by winning Sunday's race no matter where Mercedes team-mate Hamilton finishes, posted the quickest lap of the weekend so far with a 1m11.740s effort.

Hamilton, who was quickest in both Friday practice sessions, had to settle for second, just 0.093s slower than Rosberg.

Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed the cooler conditions compared to Friday's session to finish third and fourth, 0.219s and 0.287s down respectively on Rosberg.

Behind the leading quartet came Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who had hoped the drop in temperatures would help their cause, but they were 0.337s and 0.547s off the pace ultimately.

Following the scorching temperatures for second practice that rose to 31C, with the track hitting a peak of 52C, FP3 was run in very different conditions.

Heavy overnight rain resulted in a grey start to the session and a damp circuit in places that started off at 22C and rose to a high of 25C.

A handful of drivers conducted exploratory laps on full-wet tyres early on, before Hamilton pitted for slicks, claiming the track was "pretty dry" despite light drizzle in some places.

Hamilton went off on his first flying lap on softs, before setting the first competitive time of the day with a 1m16.980s.

There was a momentary disturbance 15 minutes into the session that resulted in double-yellows flags being waved in sector one, when an umbrella blew onto the track at the Senna S, but this was swiftly dealt with.

Others soon followed Hamilton's lead by venturing out on either soft or medium dry tyres, leading to the times tumbling as the rain eased off.

Raikkonen set the benchmark time on soft tyres with a lap of 1m12.530s before Ricciardo beat that by almost a quarter of a second with 17 minutes remaining, effectively sparking the start of the qualifying simulation runs.

Rosberg eventually emerged as the fastest driver of the session, posting a time of 1m11.740s that Hamilton couldn't quite reach.

Valtteri Bottas was seventh in his Willliams, and the only other driver to finish within a second of Rosberg.

Bottas was almost four tenths of a second ahead of Jolyon Palmer's Renault, while Felipe Massa's Williams and Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda rounded out the top 10.

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson finished bottom of the standings, the only driver without a time to his name.

He completed only one lap due to technical issues, necessitating an engine change.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m11.740s - 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.833s 0.093s 21
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m11.959s 0.219s 14
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m12.027s 0.287s 16
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m12.077s 0.337s 19
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m12.287s 0.547s 21
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m12.614s 0.874s 27
8 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m12.968s 1.228s 19
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m12.990s 1.250s 26
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m13.002s 1.262s 12
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m13.203s 1.463s 14
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m13.231s 1.491s 19
13 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m13.255s 1.515s 15
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m13.293s 1.553s 20
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m13.344s 1.604s 15
16 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m13.596s 1.856s 16
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m13.609s 1.869s 13
18 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m13.750s 2.010s 9
19 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m13.972s 2.232s 20
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m13.992s 2.252s 14
21 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m14.222s 2.482s 21
22 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari - - 1
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Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to Brazilian Grand Prix pole

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Nico Rosberg , Lewis Hamilton
Author Ian Parkes
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