Brazilian GP Practice Two: Mercedes just ahead of Ferrari
Hulkenberg crashes out; Verstappen hit by car trouble
Last Updated: 04/12/18 2:38pm
Mercedes set the pace in Practice Two for the Brazilian GP, with Valtteri Bottas fractionally quicker than world champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
On what promises to be a closely-fought weekend at Interlagos, the two Mercedes cars were split by just 0.003 seconds while Sebastian Vettel was within a tenth of Bottas' benchmark.
Vettel told Sky F1 afterwards: "The car has been ok, we are in the ball-park but we can launch forward from here."
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Red Bull had a mixed day but showed enough to suggest they will be in the fight for victory on Sunday.
But after setting the pace in Practice One, a crack in his oil tank meant Max Verstappen had to sit out the first 50 minutes of P2.
Out of sync with the rest of the field when he set his qualifying-simulation run, the Dutchman finished just fifth.
"I had my traffic on my super-soft run but I don't think we will be in the fight for pole position anyway," Verstappen told Sky F1. "On the long runs we have a things to fix but I am confident we can."
In a more substantial blow to the Red Bull outfit, Daniel Ricciardo, on pole two weeks ago in Mexico, will take a five-place grid penalty due to an unscheduled turbo change.
"We have a decent car but are three tenths off," Ricciardo reflected. "And Mercedes and Ferrari will probably turn up the power tomorrow."
Mercedes will wrap up the Constructors' Championship this weekend if Ferrari fail to out-score the Silver Arrows by 13 points or more.
The Silver Arrows struggled to match Ferrari and Red Bull's pace in the last two events, Mexico and USA, but Bottas' flier of 1:08.846 indicated they are back in the groove in Brazil.
Hamilton made a small mistake in the second sector on his flying lap and later complained about his car's balance during his long run.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg crashed out at the penultimate corner after running wide, triggering a red-flag stoppage.
The German was unhurt in the incident but the same couldn't be reported of his car and Hulkenberg sat out the remainder of the session.
Behind Kimi Raikkonen and Verstappen Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top ten alongside
Brazilian GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:08.846|
|2) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.003|
|3) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 0.073|
|4) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 0.318|
|5) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.493|
|6) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 0.566|
|7) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 0.923|
|8) Charles Leclerc||Sauber||+ 1.097|
|9) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.161|
|10) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 1.313|
|11) Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 1.474|
|12) Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+ 1.484|
|13) Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+ 1.486|
|14) Carlos Sainz||Renault||+ + 1.612|
|15) Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+ 1.686|
|16) Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||+ 1.723|
|17) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+ 1.750|
|18) Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 1.816|
|19) Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+ 1.888|
|20) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+ 2.828|
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