Ros­berg pips Hamilton in third fi­nal prac­tice

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Nico Ros­berg bounced back to top the times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in yes­ter­day’s third and fi­nal prac­tice for this week­end’s po­ten­tially de­ci­sive Brazil­ian Grand Prix. The world cham­pi­onship leader clocked a best time of one minute and 11.740 sec­onds on a damp morn­ing at In­ter­la­gos to fin­ish the ses­sion just 0.093 sec­onds ahead of the de­fend­ing cham­pion Hamilton, who was fastest in both ses­sions on Fri­day.

Ros­berg, who holds a 19-point lead on the Bri­ton with two races re­main­ing, will win his maiden ti­tle if he com­pletes a hat-trick of suc­ces­sive wins at the Brazil­ian event in to­day’s race. Hamilton has never won in Brazil-one of only two venues on the cur­rent cal­en­dar that have not pro­vided him with vic­tory-but he also is seek­ing a hat-trick of three con­sec­u­tive wins fol­low­ing tri­umphs in the United States and Mex­ico last month.

The weather con­di­tions in Sao Paulo were sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent on Satur­day to the heat­wave on Fri­day. The cooler air, cou­pled with in­ter­mit­tent driz­zle, cre­ated a very dif­fer­ent set of chal­lenges and lit­tle or no con­sis­tency with the lap times as the driv­ers and teams went through their fi­nal prepa­ra­tions ahead of qual­i­fy­ing later. Af­ter strug­gling on Fri­day, Fer­rari bat­tled through the night to find im­prove­ments and four-time cham­pion Se­bas­tian Vet­tel was third-fastest, ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikko­nen.

Dutch teenager Max Ver­stap­pen was fifth ahead of Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, Finn Valt­teri Bot­tas of Wil­liams and Jolyon Palmer for Re­nault. Lo­cal hero Felipe Massa was ninth in the sec­ond Wil­liams ahead of two-time world cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso of McLaren, the Spa­niard re­turn­ing to ac­tion af­ter a prob­lem­atic Fri­day that saw him suf­fer a car fail­ure. Mean­while, For­mula One stew­ards re­jected Fer­rari’s re­quest for a re­view of Se­bas­tian Vet­tel’s Mex­i­can Grand Prix penalty on Fri­day, ar­gu­ing that the Ital­ian team had not pre­sented any new ev­i­dence to war­rant such a move. The gov­ern­ing FIA pub­lished their de­ci­sion in a state­ment at the Brazil­ian Grand Prix af­ter a tele­con­fer­ence in­volv­ing the stew­ards from the Oct. 30 race in Mex­ico City and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Red Bull and Fer­rari. “Hav­ing re­ceived all the writ­ten and ver­bal sub­mis­sions and care­fully con­sid­ered them, the Stew­ards de­cide there is no new el­e­ment,” it con­cluded.

Four-time world cham­pion Vet­tel went from fourth on the track to third and then back down to fifth af­ter stew­ards ap­plied post-race time penal­ties to Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen and then him­self.

The Ger­man was de­moted for mak­ing a danger­ous move while brak­ing as Red Bull’s Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo at­tempted to over­take. The penalty was the first for the of­fence since driv­ers were given a writ­ten warn­ing at the pre­vi­ous race in Texas about such ‘de­fen­sive ma­noeu­vres’.

Fer­rari had said on Thurs­day that it con­sid­ered “a num­ber of new el­e­ments” had emerged to make the race day de­ci­sion re­view­able. The team, third in the cham­pi­onship with Red Bull sec­ond, said they felt it was im­por­tant to have clar­ity when a prece­dent was be­ing es­tab­lished.

Fer­rari ar­gued that race di­rec­tor Char­lie Whit­ing had the ‘power’ to in­struct Ver­stap­pen to re­lin­quish a place to Vet­tel af­ter he went off track to his ad­van­tage on the lap be­fore the in­ci­dent be­tween the Ger­man and Ric­cia­rdo.—Agen­cies

SAO PAULO: Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, of Bri­tain, waves af­ter he clocked the fastest time dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion for the Brazil­ian For­mula One Grand Prix at the In­ter­la­gos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yes­ter­day His team­mate Nico Ros­berg, right, will de­part sec­ond and Fer­rari driver Kimi Raikko­nen, of Fin­land, left, will de­part third. —AP

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