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Sao Paulo GP: Carlos Sainz leads Charles Leclerc in Interlagos practice with unknowns for Red Bull and McLaren

Ferrari made the perfect start to the final Sprint weekend of the 2023 F1 season but there are plenty of question marks about how strong Red Bull and McLaren are watch Sao Paulo GP qualifying live tonight at 6pm, with build-up from 5.30pm on Sky Sports F1

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Logan Sargeant struggles to keep his Williams on all four wheels during practice at the Sao Paulo GP

Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari one-two in the only practice session ahead of qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at 6pm on Friday - live on Sky Sports F1.

Sainz was one tenth of a second quicker than Leclerc as both Ferrari drivers put on the soft tyres at the end of practice to edge out George Russell, who was third but on the mediums.

The other leading runners including Lewis Hamilton, the Red Bulls and McLarens didn't complete competitive runs on the medium or soft tyres so were down the order.

Everyone went out on the hard tyres at the start of practice, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez leading a Red Bull one-two by less than a tenth from Russell.

Red Bull focused on long runs on the hard tyre, so Verstappen was only 16th and Perez in 18th. Lewis Hamilton ran the hards and mediums but also didn't get a full qualifying simulation under his belt and was just 12th behind Fernando Alonso, who suffered a puncture early in the session.

The Williams and Haas drivers ran soft tyres, so Nico Hulkenberg was fourth and Alex Albon rounded out the top five from Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu.

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"Difficult to judge. We haven't seen Verstappen on that [medium] tyre," Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

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"They have saved that tyre and it's going to be quite interesting to see why. It leaves a little bit more options. But it [Mercedes' pace] was encouraging. Lewis lost six tenths in Turns One and Two, so it was pretty equal [otherwise to George]."

McLaren don't show full hand

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Lando Norris and Nico Hulkenberg collide during P1 of the Sao Paulo GP

At the bottom of the final classification were the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Coming into the weekend, the Woking-based team did not expect to be competitive in Sao Paulo due to the tight middle sector, but they showed strong pace on their incomplete fast runs.

Norris ran the medium tyre but set purple sectors, as did Piastri on the softs. However, both drivers abandoned their laps and came into the pit lane when they were on course to be in the top three.

Hulkenberg collided with Norris at the left hander of Turn 12, before the run up the hill to the finish line, as he appeared to not see the McLaren driver on his inside.

The only other significant incident was Logan Sargeant appearing to have a rear suspension problem as his car lifted up onto two wheels under braking.

Sao Paulo GP Practice One Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1. Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:11.732
2. Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.108
3. George Russell Mercedes +0.133
4. Nico Hulkenberg Haas +0.196
5. Alex Albon Williams +0.312
6. Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.404
7. Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +0.452
8. Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +0.749
9. Logan Sargeant Williams +0.847
10. Kevin Magnussen Haas +0.860
11. Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.883
12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.906
13. Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +0.982
14. Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri +1.046
15. Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.047
16. Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.061
17. Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +1.200
18. Sergio Perez Red Bull +1.324
19. Lando Norris McLaren +1.897
20. Oscar Piastri McLaren +2.106

When to watch the Sao Paulo GP live only on Sky Sports F1

Friday November 3

  • 5.30pm: Sao Paulo GP Qualifying build-up (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
    6pm: Sao Paulo GP Qualifying (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
  • 8pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Saturday November 4

  • 1.30pm: Sprint Shootout build-up
  • 2pm: Sao Paulo GP Sprint Shootout
  • 5.30pm: Sprint build-up
  • 6.30pm: SAO PAULO SPRINT
  • 8pm: Ted's Sprint Notebook

Sunday November 5

  • 3.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Sao Paulo GP build-up
  • 7pm: Chequered Flag: Sao Paulo GP reaction
  • 8pm: Ted's Notebook

F1 is in Brazil for the final leg of the Americas triple header and the last Sprint weekend of the 2023 season. Watch every session from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 5pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW

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