Nico Ros­berg fastest in prac­tice for Ja­panese Grand Prix

Malta Independent - - SPORT / CLASSIFIEDS -

Nico Ros­berg set the fastest time in yes­ter­day’s prac­tice for the Ja­panese Grand Prix, edg­ing Mercedes team­mate and For­mula One ti­tle ri­val Lewis Hamil­ton.

Ros­berg set the quick­est lap in both ses­sions, with his best at 1 minute, 32.250 sec­onds; just seven hun­dredths of a sec­ond bet­ter than Hamil­ton.

Fer­rari driver Kimi Raikko­nen was third, en­cour­ag­ingly only three tenths of a sec­ond off Ros­berg’s time.

He was fol­lowed by Red Bull driver Max Ver­stap­pen, then Fer­rari driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, who won four faces in Suzuka be­tween 2009 and 2013.

With five races re­main­ing in the sea­son, Ros­berg holds a 23point lead over Hamil­ton, who had an en­gine fail­ure while lead­ing last week­end’s Malaysian Grand Prix but is chas­ing a hat trick of vic­to­ries in Ja­pan.

Rain is fore­cast for to­day’s qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion.

Ros­berg’s af­ter­noon got off to an un­cer­tain start when he pulled out of his garage 13 min­utes into the ses­sion with wisps of smoke emerg­ing from the back of his Mercedes.

As he waited at the end of the pit­lane, the smoke be­came slightly thicker and bil­lowed out for a few sec­onds, but there was lit­tle trou­ble af­ter that.

He soon posted the fastest lap on hard tires and then set the pace on softer tires to re­main ahead through­out the ses­sion.

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