Hamilton fastest despite final practice issues

Lewis Hamilton finished fastest ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg in final practice in Brazil despite having a disrupted session with his Mercedes.

The World Champion stopped briefly on track complaining of a gearbox issue before returning to the pits, and then spun his car at the Mergulho corner when he returned to the circuit, but was still able to set the pace with a time of 1m12.070s.

Rosberg was unable to match Hamilton on his own qualifying simulation, losing out by 0.123s despite being setting the fastest first sector time, but the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS duo were well clear of the rest of the field once more.

Sebastian Vettel was again the best of the rest in third, but the Scuderia Ferrari driver was almost seven-tenths of a second back on the time of Hamilton.

Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, but 1.026s off the pace, while Valtteri Bottas brought his Williams Martini Racing machine into the top five for the first time this weekend, just ahead of the leading Sahara Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

A late fast lap enabled Romain Grosjean to finish the session in seventh for the Lotus F1 Team, two places ahead of team-mate Pastor Maldonado, with the second Force India of Sergio Perez sandwiched between them in eighth.

Max Verstappen completed the top ten for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, just 0.024s faster than Daniel Ricciardo, with the Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver continuing to use the upgraded Renault engine for the rest of the weekend.

The second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat was down in thirteenth, with the Russian driver just behind the second Williams of Felipe Massa despite not following his team-mates lead and using the upgraded Renault package this weekend.

Fernando Alonso finished down in fourteenth for McLaren-Honda just ahead of compatriot Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, while Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr were sixteenth and seventeenth for the Sauber F1 Team, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button, and the Manor F1 Team duo of Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi.

Interlagos Free Practice 3 Times

144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m12.070s-16
26Nico RosbergMercedes1m12.193s0.123s19
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1m12.760s0.690s19
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m13.096s1.026s20
577Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m13.335s1.265s25
627Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m13.345s1.275s19
78Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes1m13.437s1.367s19
811Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m13.506s1.436s18
913Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes1m13.534s1.464s20
1033Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault1m13.548s1.478s21
113Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m13.572s1.502s23
1219Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m13.742s1.672s24
1326Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault1m13.829s1.759s17
1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m13.850s1.780s19
1555Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault1m13.959s1.889s23
169Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m14.185s2.115s23
1712Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1m14.288s2.218s22
1822Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m14.445s2.375s17
1998Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari1m16.671s4.601s15
2053Alexander RossiMarussia/Ferrari1m17.059s4.989s15