Brazilian GP: Verstappen edges Vettel, Hamilton in FP1

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Brazilian GP: Verstappen edges Vettel, Hamilton in FP1
Scott Mitchell
By: Scott Mitchell
Nov 9, 2018, 2:36 PM

Max Verstappen edged a tight battle between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes to top the opening practice session for Formula 1's Brazilian Grand Prix.

Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and 2018 champion Lewis Hamilton were covered by less than a tenth of a second in first practice at Interlagos.

Hamilton and Verstappen set their fastest laps moments apart from one another, with the Briton initially going quickest on a 1m09.107s before Verstappen snuck ahead on a 1m09.011s.

Vettel then split the pair by posting a 1m09.060s.

The close fight between the three leading teams took place through the first hour of the 90-minute session, as all six of their drivers took turns at the top.

Daniel Ricciardo was first out as he looked to immediately activate a five-place grid penalty for a turbocharger change.

He also became the first big gun to set a representative time, a 1m10.139s, that was initially bettered by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and then Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes briefly interrupted Bottas's running to investigate an oil leak, and though he returned to the track before the session's end he only made a minor improvement.

That dropped him to the tail of the top six as Verstappen, Vettel and Hamilton all moved ahead of their teammates on their second sets of supersoft tyres.

Ricciardo wound up fourth quickest, 0.384s slower than his teammate, while Raikkonen was half a second of the pace in fifth having switched to (and improved on) soft tyres for the second part of the session.

Bottas trimmed three tenths of his earlier benchmark but was a further tenth adrift of his fellow Finn.

Haas led the way in the battle to be best-of-the-rest thanks to early laps after the mid-session lull from Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

Grosjean was the last driver within a second of Verstappen's time, while Magnussen was three tenths slower than his teammate.

Sauber's Charles Leclerc and Racing Point Force India driver Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.

Three regular drivers stepped aside in FP1: Marcus Ericsson was replaced by Antonio Giovinazzi at Sauber, Fernando Alonso gave his McLaren to Lando Norris and Sergio Perez was sidelined so Nicholas Latifi could drive for Force India.

Giovinazzi was the quickest of the trio. The 2019 Sauber driver set the 13th-fastest time, three tenths adrift of teammate Leclerc.

Norris outpaced Vandoorne with the 16th-best lap, while Latifi was the slowest of the 20 runners and over a second slower than Ocon.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 16 1'09.011  
2 Germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 20 1'09.060 0.049
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 28 1'09.107 0.096
4 Australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 23 1'09.395 0.384
5 Finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 28 1'09.573 0.562
6 Finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 23 1'09.679 0.668
7 France Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 28 1'09.922 0.911
8 Denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 15 1'10.236 1.225
9 Monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 28 1'10.346 1.335
10 France Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 34 1'10.361 1.350
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Renault Renault 34 1'10.662 1.651
12 Germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 34 1'10.679 1.668
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi  Sauber Ferrari 29 1'10.685 1.674
14 Canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 30 1'10.799 1.788
15 France Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 30 1'10.934 1.923
16 United Kingdom Lando Norris  McLaren Renault 28 1'11.013 2.002
17 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 30 1'11.037 2.026
18 New Zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 32 1'11.176 2.165
19 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 23 1'11.452 2.441
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi  Force India Mercedes 34 1'11.493 2.482
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Brazilian GP
Author Scott Mitchell
Article type Practice report