Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2016

Rosberg completes practice sweep in damp session

2016 Japanese Grand Prix third practice

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Nico Rosberg completed a clean sweep of all three practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix in a damp final hour of running.

After a quiet 20 minutes at the start of practice the track had dried in time for drivers to do their qualifying simulations. Using the soft tyres, Rosberg posted a 1’32.092 to lower the quickest time of the weekend.

Several drivers subsequently beat Rosberg’s run through the twisty first sector of the lap, but many encountered traffic later on their runs and had to abort their efforts. That accounted for his team mate Lewis Hamilton as well as Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. “Cars everywhere,” lamented the Red Bull driver on the radio.

Daniel Ricciardo was seconq-quickest, ending up three-tenths of a second off Rosberg with his final run. Hamilton slipped to seventh in the final classification after a late improvement by Felipe Massa.

The biggest surprise of the session was produced by the Renault pair. As well as setting identical times to within one-thousandth of a second, both drivers featured inside the top ten.

Neither McLaren driver featured in the top ten at Honda’s home circuit. Both Haas drivers struggled with their cars but despite spinning early on Esteban Gutierrez managed the 12th best time.

Carlos Sainz Jnr only completed three laps as a technical problem confined him to the Toro Rosso garage.

Combined practice times

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’32.09214
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.3940.30210
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’32.7310.63913
433Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.7840.6929
57Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’33.0110.91912
619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’33.2711.17913
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.2841.19212
830Jolyon PalmerRenault1’33.6391.54713
920Kevin MagnussenRenault1’33.6391.54710
1027Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’33.6461.55411
1114Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’33.7141.62212
1221Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’33.7871.69516
1377Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’33.8651.7739
1411Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’33.9211.82911
1526Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’34.0371.94512
168Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’34.2722.18013
1712Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’34.3882.29612
189Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’34.5442.45213
1922Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’34.5482.45611
2031Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’35.2303.13813
2194Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’37.2565.16410
2255Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’56.32324.2313

Third practice visual gaps

Nico Rosberg – 1’32.092

+0.302 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’32.394

+0.639 Sebastian Vettel – 1’32.731

+0.692 Max Verstappen – 1’32.784

+0.919 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’33.011

+1.179 Felipe Massa – 1’33.271

+1.192 Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.284

+1.547 Jolyon Palmer – 1’33.639

+1.547 Kevin Magnussen – 1’33.639

+1.554 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’33.646

+1.622 Fernando Alonso – 1’33.714

+1.695 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’33.787

+1.773 Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.865

+1.829 Sergio Perez – 1’33.921

+1.945 Daniil Kvyat – 1’34.037

+2.180 Romain Grosjean – 1’34.272

+2.296 Felipe Nasr – 1’34.388

+2.452 Marcus Ericsson – 1’34.544

+2.456 Jenson Button – 1’34.548

+3.138 Esteban Ocon – 1’35.230

+5.164 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’37.256

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’32.4311’32.2501’32.092-0.15873
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’32.6461’32.3221’33.284+0.96268
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’34.1121’34.1501’32.394-1.71862
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’33.8171’32.5731’33.011+0.43855
5Sebastian VettelFerrari1’33.5251’33.1031’32.731-0.37266
6Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’34.3791’33.0611’32.784-0.27764
7Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’36.1691’34.1271’33.271-0.85669
8Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’34.7671’33.5701’33.921+0.35178
9Jolyon PalmerRenault1’37.9921’34.7601’33.639-1.12166
10Kevin MagnussenRenault1’36.8221’34.3391’33.639-0.776
11Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’34.5301’33.8731’33.646-0.22774
12Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’35.0031’33.9851’33.714-0.27159
13Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’36.2191’34.6431’33.787-0.85648
14Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’35.3811’34.0281’33.865-0.16373
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’35.4461’34.3051’34.037-0.26862
16Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’35.6721’34.0861’56.323+22.23763
17Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.6881’34.2411’34.272+0.03163
18Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’35.9671’34.8241’34.388-0.43653
19Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’35.6771’34.3981’34.548+0.1564
20Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’36.2941’36.3181’34.544-1.7558
21Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’37.7971’35.4001’35.230-0.1779
22Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’37.9661’35.2921’37.256+1.96464

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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3 comments on “Rosberg completes practice sweep in damp session”

  1. Hm, Hamilton made a few mistakes in S2 and aborted his fast lap. And traffic was quite a big thing. I can see that traffic combined with mistakes making qualifying tricky. But I sort of still expect Hamilton to make it work.

    It seems Renault has either finally learned how to set up the car or it just seems to work wonderfully at this one track. Palmer certainly seemed content with the balance of it after the session. I would be surprised to see them be in Q3 on pace, but on the other hand they were getting closer already the last few races and with a few slip ups (seems McLaren are not quite on it here and Bottas did not seem to feel good out there for example) they might get one in there.

    1. I’ve noticed the cars are running stiffer in this track, probably because of the nature of the track, flowing tracks have suited Lotus/Renault, and the also the fact Renault introduced a new rear end packaging recently is some progress. I’d say what we’re seeing is mostly down to the track characteristics and the tyre pressures as some have disappeared (McLaren) and others (SFI and Renault) look better.

  2. Awesome. Are we going for Nico P1 and Lewis P2? Then Lewis win from P2? Traditionally when Nico is close ahead in practices Lewis can then match him in Q3.

    Or is Lewis engine saving?

    As for others phew so far behind.

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