MEXICO CITY - Nico Rosberg maintained his supremacy in practice for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday when he topped the times in the final free session ahead of qualifying for Sunday's race.
The 30-year-old German, who is determined to beat his Mercedes team-mate, newly-crowned three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton after their wheel-banging duel in Texas last weekend, was fastest ahead of the Briton by just 0.014 seconds.
That small margin was handed to Rosberg by two rare Hamilton errors when he locked up and ran off at Turn One and then again in the stadium section at the slippery Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after switching to soft tyres in the final minutes.
Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest, just a tenth of a second off the pace, in his Red Bull, ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Daniil Kvyat in the second Red Bull. Local hero Sergio Perez was an impressive sixth for Force India ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, Felipe Massa in the second Williams and Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India.
Perez's part in the action was given huge support by the noisy crowd and he acknowledged that with a wave during his in-lap. Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, wound up down in 17th place after suffering an engine failure in the second Ferrari while Jenson Button, champion in 2009, finished 20th as he struggled again in his McLaren Honda.