SAO PAULO (AP) Mercedes dominated again in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday as Nico Rosberg and already crowned champion Lewis Hamilton had the fastest times at Interlagos.
And the teammates are expecting another tough fight in the penultimate race, even though almost nothing is left to be decided this season.
''It looks like we will have a great battle again this weekend,'' said Rosberg said, who is still trying to secure second place in the season standings.
Hamilton clinched his third Formula One title at the United States Grand Prix, and Mercedes secured the constructor's title even earlier.
''The car feels good here, but I think it's going to be a close, hard-fought weekend,'' Hamilton said.
Rosberg posted the fastest time on the day, clocking a lap of 1 minute 12.385 seconds in the afternoon session, which was run in light rain. Hamilton was next with a best lap of 1:12:843, also in the afternoon.
Interlagos is famous for its wet weather, and rain is a possibility again for Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race.
Hamilton said his teammate got the edge because of a better setup and by making changes for the second practice session.
Both practice sessions were lightly attended, not surprising with little at stake and the sport facing a decline in attention in Brazil without a dominant local driver.
''I didn't change anything in the car for the second free practice,'' Hamilton said. ''I didn't follow the evolution of the track. I will make some changes tonight.''
Hamilton arrived in Sao Paulo a day late, acknowledging he was delayed following a late-night car crash in Monaco where he ran into a stationary vehicle.
He has declined to give details about the incident.
The next fastest in practice was Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, whose lap of 1:13:345 was almost a full second slower than Rosberg's best. Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was fourth. Home favorites Felipe Massa of Williams and Felipe Nasr of Sauber finished 10th and 13th.
''Overall it was a difficult day,'' said Vettel, a four-time F1 champion. ''Today everybody struggled quite a lot with the tires. They seem even more tricky than last year, but then I think it was slippery for everyone. The car was moving around and sliding quite a lot.''