Mercedes drivers went first and second in both free practice sessions at Interlagos, with Lewis Hamilton using the P Zero White medium tyre to go quickest in the morning and Nico Rosberg setting fastest time of the day on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in the afternoon.
Today was the first opportunity that the teams had to assess tyre wear and degradation on each compound heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend: traditionally a key factor, due to the constant cornering during a short but frenetic and bumpy lap.
As is often the case at Sao Paulo, the weather conditions were inconsistent, with warm track temperatures in the morning but light rain at lunchtime, which dried up before the start of FP2.
The drivers used the morning FP1 session to reacclimatise to the track and determine the behaviour of the medium tyre, in ambient temperatures close to 30 degrees centigrade. In the afternoon, both the medium and soft tyres were used during FP2: complete with some long runs to assess wear and degradation on each compound with different fuel loads. With a high risk of rain returning, the teams were all straight out on track in FP2, aiming to maximise the opportunity of collecting useful data.
The session times were slower than their equivalents in 2014, due to a dirty surface and some damaged kerbs to last year, which meant that the drivers modified their lines in order to avoid them.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Friday’s two free practice sessions followed the established pattern of running, although the threat of rain – which never really materialised – perhaps added a certain pressure on teams to gather as much information as quickly as possible. We’ve certainly got plenty of data to analyse now, and while wear and degradation is typically high in Brazil, we are not noticing anything out of the ordinary from a tyre perspective so far. The track is still evolving so tomorrow’s comparative data will be interesting too, but we should be in for a busy race with plenty of strategies and pit stops. As always, the unknown factor seems to be the weather.”
1.Hamilton 1m13.543s Medium new
2.Rosberg 1m14.062s Medium used
3.Vettel 1m14.168s Medium used
1.Rosberg 1m12.385s Soft new
2.Hamilton 1m12.843s Soft new
3.Vettel 1m13.345s Soft new