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Mexican Grand Prix FP2: Nico Rosberg pips Red Bull drivers to top slippery session

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Mexican Grand Prix FP2: Nico Rosberg pips Red Bull drivers to top slippery session
Oct 30, 2015, 10:48 PM

Nico Rosberg topped the second practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of the Red Bull pair of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Riccarido.

Nico Rosberg topped the second practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of the Red Bull pair of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Riccarido.

As Formula 1 made its return to Mexico City after a 23-year absence, the field initially struggled to adapt to the new low-grip surface.

Several drivers, including newly-crowned world champion, Lewis Hamilton, suffered spins at different points around the 17-turn Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

XPB.cc Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen, who had topped FP1 earlier on in the day, also went off, but he hit the barriers at the final corner, the renamed Mansell Turn, and brought out the first of two red flags after just five minutes. The Dutchman did not return to the session as a result.

When the action resumed after a 10-minute delay, the drivers emerged under cloudy skies and the threat of rain was ever present throughout the session.

Rosberg and Hamilton traded fastest times as the field completed their long-run simulations, but the Red Bull pair managed to split the Mercedes drivers on their soft-tyre efforts.

XPB.cc Nico Rosberg

Speaking after the session, Rosberg said: “It’s great to learn a new track and be in a new country. They’ve done a good job with the track – it’s good to drive, it’s quite unique [and] it reminds me a bit of my youth because it’s like a little go-kart track [with] very tight corners.

“I specifically paid attention on the in-lap and it’s a great feeling to drive through [the stadium section] because everybody is there cheering and [there are] a lot of people in one spot. It’s great how they’ve done the layout.”

Sebastian Vettel, who had moments at Turn 12 and the pitlane entrance, was fifth, just ahead of his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen.

Valtteri Bottas survived a major scare at Turn 1 just 20 minutes into the session, when he lost the rear of his car under braking and was lucky to only lose his front wing on the barrier lining the edge of the track.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who will both receive engine penalties for taking yet more power unit elements, were eighth and ninth for McLaren, despite Button missing most of the first half of the session as the team fixed a sensor issue.

XPB.cc Fernando Alonso

Nico Hulkenberg was 12th, just ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Carlos Sainz, who both struggled with braking and went off at Turn 1.

Felipe Nasr ended the session in 14th place for Sauber with local hero, Sergio Perez, 15th in the second Force India. His home supporters, who packed the grandstands around the track, loudly cheered the Mexican every time he drove by.

Romain Grosjean could only manage P16 in the second Lotus and the Frenchman brought out the second red flag of the session when he stopped at Turn 8 late on.

Alexander Rossi beat Will Stevens to 18th and Verstappen propped up the timesheets, as he did not set a timed lap.

XPB.cc Alexander Rossi

The rain, which had come down intermittently throughout the session, got heavier in the final ten minutes and the times did not change as most drivers chose to end their sessions early, rather than risk damaging their cars on the slippery surface.

FP2 Results:

Pos

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.531s

2 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull +0.245s

3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +0.337s

4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.430s

5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.453s

6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.868s

7 Valtteri Bottas Williams +1.190s

8 Fernando Alonso McLaren +1.462s

9 Jenson Button McLaren +1.578s

10 Felipe Massa Williams +1.758s

11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +1.759s

12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1.832s

13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +1.833s

14 Felipe Nasr Sauber +1.899s

15 Sergio Perez Force India +2.066s

16 Romain Grosjean Lotus +2.083s

17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +3.002s

18 Alexander Rossi Marussia +4.409s

19 Will Stevens Marussia +5.437s

- Max Verstappen Toro Rosso No time set
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