Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton makes perfect start in Friday Practice as Mercedes dominate
World champion quickest, just ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas
Last Updated: 16/11/17 10:27am
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in both of Friday's practice sessions for the Brazilian GP as Mercedes made a faultless start to the penultimate weekend of the F1 season.
Improving on the new track record he had set in Practice One, the newly-crowned world champion set the pace at Interlagos with a lap of 1:09.515.
Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was just a tenth behind Hamilton on an ominously-impressive day for the Silver Arrows.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo also lapped within two tenths of Hamilton but the Australian is facing a 10-place grid drop due to an unscheduled engine change.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth quickest for Ferrari and only three tenths down on Hamilton's Mercedes.
"The gap is looking pretty close actually for Friday afternoon between the three leading teams," said Sky F1's Paul di Resta. "Three tenths is not a lot to find around this track."
On long runs, Vettel looked to be even closer to Hamilton when running on supersofts with just a tenth between them on average.
"Mercedes looked very strong, they are a bit ahead," said Vettel. "But it is very close between us and Red Bull. Mercedes look very quick in all conditions and all tyres."
Max Verstappen was faster than Hamilton and Vettel on his supersoft-shod long run but only after the Dutchman conducted the bulk of his heavy-fuel stint on the soft compound. Conversely, Hamilton and Vettel ran the supersofts when their cars were at their heaviest before swapping to the softs.
While, in customary fashion, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull filled the top six spots, the remaining top 10 slots were filled by a car each from Renault, McLaren, Force India and Williams.
This weekend's race is the first since Hamilton was crowned world champion again - an achievement commemorated on his race helmet with a fourth star added to its design following his latest coronation.
Bottas, meanwhile, is just 15 points behind the second-placed Vettel in the standings and maintained his recent improvement by twice topping Friday afternoon's running before being upstaged by Hamilton.
Brazilian GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:09.515|
|2) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.048|
|3) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 0.228|
|4) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 0.360|
|5) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.371|
|6) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 0.602|
|7) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 0.791|
|8) Felipe Massa||Williams||+ 0.858|
|9) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+ 0.881|
|10) Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda||+ 1.140|
|11) Carlos Sainz||Renault||+ 1.170|
|12) Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 1.180|
|13) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda||+ 1.387|
|14) Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 1.549|
|15) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1.785|
|16) Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+ 1.907|
|17) Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+ 2.306|
|18) Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||+ 2.342|
|19) Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+ 2.474|
|20) Antonio Giovinazzi||Haas||+ 2.902|
* All times set on supersoft tyre except for Ericsson and Giovinazzi on softs