In this paper, a combined FE simulation and scratch experiments approach was used to simulate the contact established between a high-speed steel (HSS) work roll and a hot strip material in hot rolling, in which the top layer and the substrate represented the HSS roll and the tip of the indenter represented a particle from oxide scale formed on the strip steel. This work focused on the contact behaviour of the oxide scale in the roll bite during hot rolling. The coefficient of friction during the simulation tests was recorded. It was found that the evolution of the coefficient of friction could be divided into two stages which are incubation period and stationary period. Associated with the evolution of the coefficient of friction, the deformation behaviour and the displacement at the cross section were characterised to study the tribological behaviour of oxide scale in contacts. The results indicated that the deformation and wear mechanism of oxide layer surface vary in different depths of penetration. At the penetration depth 2 μm, the oxide scale on the pin surface is significantly deformed. At the stage 3.2 μm and 4 μm, which the coefficient of friction is stable, the maximum von Mises are significantly higher than the yield stress of the oxide layer (σy = 7 GPa) so that high plastic deformation occurs.