The deformation micromechanics of the thin oxide scale formed in hot metal rolling and surface roughness transfer characterization are very important for the quality of the finished product. Finite element simulation of the thin oxide scale deformation and surface roughness transfer is carried out. Surface asperity deformation of the thin oxide scale and strip is focused. Surface characterisation and micromechanics of the thin oxide scale deformation are obtained from the finite element simulation and experimental measurements. Simulation results are close to the measured values. The forming features of surface roughness transfer during hot metal rolling with lubrication are also discussed.