Mercedes dominates in the first practice in Brazil

Mercedes dominates in the first practice in Brazil

Hamilton set a time of 1:09.202 on the Super Soft compound tyre to finish 0.127s clear of Bottas

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Lewis Hamilton set the pace during Friday’s first free practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix, from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, followed by the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers.

Hamilton set a time of 1:09.202 on the Super Soft compound tyre to finish 0.127s clear of Bottas, and over half a second up on main rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

Hamilton’s lap also smashed the Interlagos track record. It was a 1:09.822, posted by Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) during the first qualifying phase in 2004.

With rain forecast for FP2, drivers packed short and long runs into their programmes, while several teams ran development parts in preparation for next season.

Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen finished closest to the Mercedes pair, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, and team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Verstappen was particularly vocal about a lack of grip on a ‘green’ track surface, which now features an array of grooves, in a bid to increase safety in wet conditions.

Felipe Massa, preparing to contest his final home Grand Prix, put his Williams seventh, as Force India’s Esteban Ocon split McLaren-Honda drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso.

Lance Stroll took 11th, ahead of Mercedes-backed GP3 champion George Russell. He made his F1 practice debut with Force India, finishing 6-tenths down on Ocon.

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen placed 13th and 14th respectively for Haas. Antonio Giovinazzi now due to run in FP2, due to the rain threat.

Renault drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hülkenberg wound up a low key 15th and 16th. They were involved in televised incidents with Vettel and Hamilton.

Vettel waved his hand in frustration as a slow-moving Sainz Jr. affected his line through Senna ‘S’. Hülkenberg forced Hamilton off track at Junção, during a push-lap.

Charles Leclerc edged out regular Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson, with Toro Rosso at the back, after another tough session.

Brendon Hartley stopped on track after just two laps, amid a suspected engine failure. Pierre Gasly ran into an MGU-K issue, limiting him to only five laps.

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