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Hamilton tops opening practice session in Brazil

Any doubts about Lewis Hamilton letting up after clinching the drivers’ title in Mexico were put to rest at the outset in Brazil as the Mercedes driver topped FP1.

Hamilton edged out team mate Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, while achieving a new lap record of Interlagos.


Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps

1
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
1:09.202s

36

2
Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes
1:09.329s
+ 0.127s

43

3
Kimi Räikkönen
Ferrari
1:09.744s
+ 0.542s

32

4
Max Verstappen
Red Bull
1:09.750s
+ 0.548s

31

5
Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull
1:09.828s
+ 0.626s

38

6
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
1:09.984s
+ 0.782s

32

7
Felipe Massa
Williams
1:10.102s
+ 0.900s

28

8
Stoffel Vandoorne
McLaren
1:10.402s
+ 1.200s

26

9
Esteban Ocon
Force India
1:10.454s
+ 1.252s

36

10
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
1:10.476s
+ 1.274s

24

11
Lance Stroll
Williams
1:10.632s
+ 1.430s

42

12
George Russell
Force India
1:11.047s
+ 1.845s

29

13
Romain Grosjean
Haas
1:11.188s
+ 1.986s

29

14
Kevin Magnussen
Haas
1:11.463s
+ 2.261s

30

15
Carlos Sainz
Renault
1:11.467s
+ 2.265s

32

16
Nico Hülkenberg
Renault
1:11.608s
+ 2.406s

35

17
Charles Leclerc
Sauber
1:11.802s
+ 2.600s

32

18
Marcus Ericsson
Sauber
1:11.898s
+ 2.696s

28

19
Pierre Gasly
Toro Rosso
1:14.034s
+ 4.832s

5

20
Brendon Hartley
Toro Rosso

2


After torrential rain yesterday, free practice kicked off under a sunny sky and a dry track, with little chance of rain, although that could be set to change in the afternoon.

Daniel Ricciardo put himself at the head of the queue in the pitlane, the Red Bull driver being the first to venture out on the green track.

It was team mate Max Verstappen who put himself at the top of the timesheet however, the Dutchman looking to pick up where he left off in Mexico where he won two weeks ago.

The 20-year-old gradually trimmed his time but was displaced at the top by Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, the Finn crushing last year’s pole time.

Drama ensued in the Toro Rosso camp when Brendon Hartley parked it with an apparent engine failure – another Renault unit gone up in smoke. The Kiwi was already set for a grid drop after his demise in the Mexican GP.

Meanwhile, his team mate Pierre Gasly was once again deprived of crucial mileage, with power unit issues keeping him stranded in teh garage for the better part of the morning session.

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Sebastian Vettel suffered a spin early on, but fortunately with no consequences beyond a set of dirty tyres.

Mercedes was expected to use FP1 to trial a few modifications, perhaps changes destined to be implemented on its 2018 car, but Hamilton and Bottas traded fastest times at the top of the timesheet.

Unsurprisingly, the 2017 world champion set a new lap record, beating Rubens Barrichello’s 2014 fastest lap ever at Interlagos.

A highly motivated Felipe Massa put in a good effort to place himself P3 but was quickly bumped back to fourth by Vettel.

Force India rookie Georges Russell, running in his first ever official practice session and replacing Sergio Perez, acquitted himself well, running consistently just outside the top ten as without making any mistakes.

Traffic increased in the final minutes of the session, but while Bottas was the first driver to reach the 40-lap tally, Hamilton ended the session at the top with a record breaking 1:09.202.

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