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Nico Rosberg quickest in wet conditions

Persistent rain emerged the victor on Formula One's final Friday practice session of the season, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg quickest thanks to his time set early in the day.

Rosberg's lap of one minute 24.781sec – around an Interlagos circuit regarded as one of the finest in the world – was posted when the conditions were at their optimum, and even then that was a damp track.

Compare that to the best practice time of 1:13.188sec of a year ago from eventual race winner Jenson Button in his McLaren and it offers up an idea as to the stark difference in settings.

Throughout the opening 90 minutes the conditions ensured that even come the closing 20 minutes, when the rain finally relented, the track was still wet enough that Rosberg's time would not be beaten.

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton finished within half a second, and Sebastian Vettel was six tenths of a second adrift.

It would appear the rain is the only factor that could scupper the 26-year-old's bid to equal a further two records tomorrow.

Vettel can match the 60-year-old mark of nine consecutive victories set by Alberto Ascari, along with Michael Schumacher's 2004 haul of 13 wins in one season.

However, the forecast makes for grim reading, which will at least offer up the prospect of a thriller to conclude the campaign after Vettel's dominance.

Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen, completing the second of a two-race deal as replacement for Kimi Raikkonen who underwent back surgery last week, was a fine fourth, 0.823sec back.

Belfast Telegraph