Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to top spot in both sessions in Brazil today as a new track surface and hot conditions provided a challenge for teams and drivers.
Pirelli has switched from hard/medium to medium/soft after lobbying form the drivers, and the right front soft showed signs of blistering, notably on Rosberg’s car.
“Today was quite a normal day,” said the German. “The unusual thing though was the asphalt is completely new on this track, and it’s completely different to last year, it’s much smoother, and that has a big impact on the car. Initially the balance was completely wrong, just massive understeer.
“So then we just had to adapt the settings. What you can do is make the front end softer, and the rear end much harder, so you make the rear work harder, and then you have less understeer. So that’s what we did a little it, and that worked out. Then I felt quite comfortable, on one lap it was quite good.
“It was extremely hot, I think historically they’ve never seen such hot asphalt temperatures as today on this track, because of the fact also that it’s clean asphalt, so it gets hotter. Also the tyres were completely blistering. That’s very extreme, we haven’t seen that very often, and that was a bit of a worry today. That’s something that we need to keep an eye on. But anyway we’re expecting it to be cold for Sunday, so it should be OK.”