Nico Rosberg says his FP3 crash came after aquaplaning on one of the many “rivers” trickling on track, as treacherous weather conditions once again disrupted the USGP weekend.
Saturday dawned under heavy rain in Texas but Circuit of the Americas was still declared drivable for the third free practice, though race control forced drivers to go out on Pirelli’s blue-marked full wets.
Teams already expected conditions to worsen later during the day, with FP3 results possibly defining Sunday’s grid order. Thus, most cars quickly head out to bank some early times.
Rosberg featured among them but the German soon went off at Turn 3 and ended up damaging his front wing against the barrier.
“There were rivers and I got some aquaplaning and off I went,” explained the 30-year-old. “That was not good.”
Rosberg then limped back to the pits after his team told him about the damage. Although that piece of information might have seemed obvious from the outside looking in, the Mercedes driver explains that no radio communication is ever superfluous.
“You don’t see anything from inside the car. I don’t really know exactly what’s going on and what state the front wing is in. It’s our procedure to make sure the feedback comes straight away.
“If they start to expect that I know something that’s when things will go wrong. So they just get the information out there even though it might look stupid in some cases.”
Just like it did on Friday, the worst of the rain hit Austin in the afternoon and eventually led to the postponement of qualifying until Sunday morning.
If the session were eventually cancelled, Rosberg, who trails team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 73 points in the Drivers’ standings, would have to start the United States Grand Prix from P9 with the championship leader lining up on pole position.
“It’s not on my mind. I’m just really focussed on getting into qualifying and getting the job done. On the intermediates yesterday, I was really happy with the car and everything, so hopefully it will be good.
Rosberg comfortably topped Friday’s opening free practice on the intermediate tyre, while the weather forecast for Sunday morning looks more favourable than the past two days.
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