FOUND GOOD PACE IN PRACTICE TWO: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was the quickest driver around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in second practice for the Mexican GP. Image: AFP / Lars Baron
Mexico City, Mexico - Nico Rosberg bounced back from his disappointment in Texas to top the times in Friday's (October 30) second free practice for this weekend's Mexican Grand Prix, the first in the city for 23 years.
Five days after failing to stop his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton from clinching his third world title, the 30-year-old German proved he is determined to wipe out memories of Austin by beating him to gain some satisfaction in his bid to finish runner-up in the championship.
Many drivers struggled for grip
Rosberg clocked a fastest lap of 1min:21.531 seconds to outpace nearest rival Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull by two-tenths of a second in a busy session that saw many drivers struggling for grip and spinning on the high-altitude, low-grip surface of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Read: 2015 Mexican GP: 2nd Practice - As it happened
Rosberg said: "It is great to be here and to learn a new track and visit a new country. They have done a really good job and today was a good day for me. It was fun.
"I love the section with the stadium and, actually, I just paid real attention to it on my in-lap. It is nice to see so many people there and close and tight to the track. I think it is a great layout."
Asked if he was motivated to make sure he finished second in the championship, Rosberg then narrowed his eyes.
Rosberg replied: "No, my motivation is to beat the guy next to me."
That guy, of course, is Hamilton whose success at the United States GP left Rosberg feeling bitter disappointment and anger, an emotion he has struggled to shake off as his team-mate revelled in his celebrations.
"It's challenging," said Hamilton, of the circuit, with a broad grin.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was third in the second Renault-powered Red Bull ahead of Hamilton, in the second Mercedes, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Button faced with grid penalty
Valtteri Bottas, who smashed the front wing off his Williams in a high-speed off-track excursion, was seventh ahead of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and his McLaren team-mate, 2009 champion Jenson Button of McLaren.
Button, running with a new Honda engine, is expected to have a 20-25 place grid penalty, or more, for Sunday's (November 1) race as he plans to run with another new engine from Saturday.
Felipe Massa was 10th in the second Williams.
At the bottom of the order, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, who topped the times in the opening session in the morning, failed to clock a lap time after he crashed on his opening lap in the second session in his Toro Rosso.
"Cold tyres and maybe not fully focused," he explained.
"It was like my first lap, I was not even pushing, just warming up the tyres and then suddenly I just lost it."
Hamilton was also among the spinners as the conditions changed from wet to damp to dry and then wet again, when it rained in the closing stages.
Verstappen, 18, was not even born when Nigel Mansell won the last Formula One race in Mexico City in a Williams in 1992.
Second practice classification:
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min21:531
2. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull - 1min21:776
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - 1min21:868
4. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min21:961
5. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min21:984
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min22:399
7. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - 1min22:721
8. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1min22:993
9. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min23:109
10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams - 1min23:289
11. Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - 1min23:290
12. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - 1min23:363
13. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - 1min23:364
14. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber - 1min23:430
15. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - 1min23:597
16. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - 1min23:614
17. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - 1min24:533
18. Alexander Rossi (United States) Marussia - 1min25:940
19. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia - 1min26:968
20. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso -