Rosberg on top in Brazil practice

Fri Nov 7, 2014 4:52pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg took the fight to championship-leading Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton with the fastest laps in both Brazilian Grand Prix practice sessions on Friday while Fernando Alonso's Ferrari caught fire.

The German started the day with a best time of one minute 12.764 seconds on a cloudy morning at the Interlagos circuit and finished the afternoon with an effort of 1:12.123.

Hamilton, who has won the last five grands prix and is chasing his 11th victory in 18 races, was a close second in both sessions on a day overshadowed by news of the Marussia team's demise after they had previously gone into administration.

Rosberg desperately needs to win on Sunday, even if the championship cannot be decided before Abu Dhabi at the end of the month when double points are on offer, after Hamilton forged 24 points clear in the championship.

"That was a good day and we are very quick again at this circuit," Rosberg told reporters.

"The track has a new surface which made it quite tricky. It's smooth and not quite so bumpy as it has been in the past but the tyres were blistering because of the high temperatures and the new asphalt.

"That was a bit worrying but we are expecting it to be a bit cooler over the weekend."

Hamilton said he had not managed to put a good lap together but was otherwise unconcerned.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany sits in his car ahead the first practice session of the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo November 7, 2014. The Brazilian Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT MOTORSPORT F1)