Rosberg tops wet opening Free Practice at COTA

Nico Rosberg made the most of the most of the tricky conditions as Friday’s opening free practice session at the Circuit of the Americas was hampered by the weather.

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver set his best time of 1m53.989s on the intermediate tyre, and although the track conditions improved throughout the ninety-minute session, the track was never good enough for either of Pirelli’s dry weather tyres to be used.

Rosberg’s time was 1.235s clear of second placed Daniil Kvyat of Infiniti Red Bull Racing, while the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo placed third a further 0.368s back.

Carlos Sainz Jr finished fourth for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, just 0.026s ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who completed only four laps during the session. Hamilton is looking to secure his third World Championship title this weekend, and will clinch the crown if he outscores Sebastian Vettel by nine points and team-mate Rosberg by two.

Vettel was sixth fastest for Scuderia Ferrari as the German ran the updated Ferrari engine for the first time, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen eighth just behind the second Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen.

Fernando Alonso put his McLaren ninth using the upgraded Honda power unit, with Valtteri Bottas completing the top ten just ahead of Williams Martini Racing team-mate Felipe Massa.

Sochi podium finisher Sergio Perez was another driver to run only four laps and finished twelfth fastest for Sahara Force India, ahead of Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg, while Romain Grosjean was fifteenth for the Lotus F1 Team after stepping back into the car after originally being scheduled to allow Jolyon Palmer to drive.

Sauber did allow their reserve driver to drive, with Raffaele Marciello replacing Felipe Nasr, with the Italian driver outpacing regular driver Marcus Ericsson, while American Alexander Rossi finished ahead of Manor F1 Team team-mate Will Stevens.

Pastor Maldonado failed to set a time as he returned to the pit lane after the installation lap complaining of a gearbox issue, and was forced to sit out the remainder of the session as his Lotus team were forced to replace it.

Circuit of the Americas Free Practice 1 Result

16Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m53.989s
226Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m55.224s
33Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m55.592s
455Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1m55.667s
544Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m55.693s
65Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m55.710s
733Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault1m55.969s
87Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m56.326s
914Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1m56.839s
1077Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes1m56.866s
1119Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m57.081s
1211Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m57.139s
1322Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Honda1m57.495s
1427Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m57.518s
158Romain GrosjeanFRALotus-Mercedes1m58.319s
1636Raffaele MarcielloITASauber-Ferrari1m59.431s
179Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari1m59.743s
1898Roberto MerhiESPManor-Ferrari2m01.154s
1928Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari2m01.907s
2013Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-MercedesNo Time