Nico Rosberg felt it was a positive day at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez despite failing to match Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team team-mate Lewis Hamilton or Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in either free practice session on Friday.
The German, who goes into this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix knowing he could clinch the championship should he win and Hamilton fails to score, ended seventh fastest, 0.759 seconds behind Hamilton, in the opening session before improving to third in the second, but was 0.435 seconds adrift of the pace set by Vettel.
Rosberg admitted the low temperatures and the low grip circuit contributed to the difficult day, but a lot of work was done and he remains confident for the rest of the weekend.
“It was an unusual day out there with the low temperatures and a very green track,” said Rosberg. “So, it’s been a bit of a steep learning curve to understand what to do with the tyres – how to get the best out of them for one lap and also for the long runs.
“We really learned a lot today and it’s not been a bad start overall but we have a lot of homework to do tonight. The car was feeling okay on the medium tyre but even there we need to make some progress to understand where we can find some performance. Ferrari seemed very quick here today, so they will be a big threat. Let’s see how tomorrow goes.
“It feels great to be back in Mexico. The fans are outstanding here. Already on Friday it’s really packed out there in the stands, which is awesome.”