World champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Mercedes put in a lap time of 1:19.8 going on tenth faster than his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
The Englishman who has made it clear that he wants to finish the season on a high, put in his fastest time on the supersoft tyres setting a time which was six tenths faster than Rubens Barrichello’s qualifying record set in 2004.
The Mercedes driver was over half a second faster than the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen with Max Verstappen just six thousandths of a second behind. The Dutchman led the pace early on in the session but had to settle for fourth fastest after Hamilton went fastest.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth a tenth faster than Sebastian Vettel had to settle for sixth fastest after suffering a spin during his first stint. However, the Red Bull driver is carrying a ten-place grid penalty after the team was forced to fit a new MGU-H to his car.
Williams’s Felipe Massa made a good start to his final home race with seventh, being the last driver to be within a second of Hamilton. While his teammate Lance Stroll was half a second off him in eleventh.
It was a good start also for the McLaren’s with Stoffel Vandoorne eighth and Fernando Alonso tenth, the pair split by the Force India of Esteban Ocon.
Ocon’s was sixth-tenths faster than GP3 champion George Russell, who was twelfth fastest. It was one of those rare occasions where you had four current world champions on track Hamilton, Charles Leclerc (Formula Two), Russell (GP3) and Brendon Hartley (WEC).
Hopes of not repeating the engine failures for Renault powered cars in Mexico where over as the session began. Both Hartley and Piere Gasly where facing going into the race, but both were hit with more problems as the session began.
Gasly set a lap time before his engine failure, however, Hartley wasn’t so lucky as he was forced to pull off with smoke pouring out of his car before he set a timed lap.
Renault had a difficult session with Carlos Sainz fifteenth and Nico Hulkenberg sixteenth. The German annoyed Hamilton after he made a move up the inside and pushed him onto the grass.
Leclerc was almost a tenth faster than his Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson.
- Preview – Brazilian Grand Prix