Nico Rosberg topped the first practice session at Sao Paolo in preparation for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The session was dominated by intermittent rain, requiring drivers to run on the intermediate tyres.
At the start of the session, the track was fairly wet, immediately casting doubt over the possibility to do some representative testing of the prototype 2014 tyres that Pirelli have brought to the Brazilian track.
The first drivers to set times are both McLaren drivers, followed by the Mercedes duo. Lewis Hamilton though is soon caught out by the track conditions as he spun in turn 3. He still managed to get in reverse and recover without problems and safely, thanks to the lack of cars out on track at that time.
As the rain stopped and the intermediate appeared to be the ideal tyre in the given conditions, many more tried to do a lap. The Red Bull Racing guys mainly did several installation laps with large pitot tube arrays attached to their cars. Webber's car had an array fixed in the front wheel's wake, while on Vettel's car a smaller array was attached behind the diffuser.
At the halfway mark, just as rain started to pick up again, Vettel went out on track on the development slick tyres, only to return to the box after his second lap. It was a careful few laps, but the team reported "come back to the pits, we've got the data we need". If so, that's an impressive feat, but it is hardly going to give them any representative performance data from the tyre.
Towards the end of the session, conditions improved again, resulting in Rosberg taking the top of the timesheet, ahead of Hamilton and Vettel. The latter did manage to cut some grass on the outside of turn 11, going very wide and carefully returning to the track through the wet grass.
|1||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:24.781||-||14|
|2||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:25.230||0.449||13|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.387||0.606||17|
|6||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.797||1.016||17|
|15||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.115||2.334||25|
|18||14||James Calado||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.436||2.655||9|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:28.107||3.326||18|