Rosberg on top in final free practice at the Mexican Grand Prix

Final free practice at the Mexican Grand Prix topped by Nico Rosberg.

With track limits being watched more closely ahead of qualifying, Nico Rosberg set the pace as the Formula One family got down to business in Mexico. But while Nico may have held the top spot, Hamilton was close in behind despite a session fraught by traffic while Raikkonen’s engine packed up before things really got going.

Throughout the final practice session Rosberg and Hamilton sat back before attacking the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez at the end of the session. But while Rosberg dropped the hammer and stormed to P1, Hamilton found his flyers end the lap stuck behind others after not attending to any serious running until the final half hour.

The traffic which caused Hamilton to slow also caused others to miss their chances at setting a lap time and this will be an issue come qualifying later today as drivers back up through the stadium section in order to create space to the car ahead. Should the space close up however, the more powerful engine and all round packages should see the driver move ahead down the long pit straight.

Before the switch onto softs at the end of the session for the quali sim laps, Red Bull saw both of their cars among the top order along with the Toro Rosso drivers as the medium tyres and high speed runs saw the pack close up on the leaderboard. Come the flyers however, the gap between them and Mercedes grew before Ricciardo closed to within one tenth.

In between Ricciardo and Kvyat came the sole Ferrari of Vettel as Raikkonen’s day came to an abrupt end when he suffered terminal engine troubles early on causing him to stop on track. Despite having a new Honda unit in his McLaren for this weekend, Jenson Button was also struck with trouble in his power unit causing ERS to fail and lead to Button sitting out most of the session. Alonso however was lingering towards the bottom of the times after a full sessions running.

Over the session and with qualifying approaching, many drivers were pushing the limits to find the latest point for braking. This however lead to a lot of drivers locking up and overrunning the corners. one victim of this was Carlos Sainz at the end of the pit straight as the Spaniard cut across the grass to safely rejoin the action.

Position Driver Gap
1 Rosberg 1:21.083
2 Hamilton 0.014
3 Ricciardo 0.118
4 Vettel 0.211
5 Kvyat 0.447
6 Perez 0.520
7 Bottas 0.689
8 Sainz 0.692
9 Massa 0.862
10 Hulkenberg 0.927
11 Verstappen 0.956
12 Maldonado 0.959
13 Grosjean 1.101
14 Ericsson 1.788
15 Alonso 1.982
16 Nasr 1.984
17 Raikkonen 3.565
18 Stevens 4.571
19 Rossi 7.093
20 Button 8.253