Brazilian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton takes free practice one at Interlagos
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News November 10, 2017 Updated: 7:32 PM
Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Fresh from claiming his fourth world title, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton kicked off the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend finishing on top in the first free practice ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.
"It was pretty exciting to come to the track with the cars being so much faster this year. It’s physically more demanding than before which is great and it’s obviously quite warm out there today. We got through the long runs and the short runs; unfortunately, the tyres don’t really last very long, so you only get one or two laps on the short runs," said Hamilton.
Bottas finished 0.127s behind Hamilton in second with only 0.006s between Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in third and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in fourth.
Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth but will have a difficult weekend ahead as penalties will plague the Australian's weekend. Sixth went to Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari after he had a spin during the session leaving him 0.782s down from Hamilton.
Felipe Massa, who will race in front of his home crowd for the last time after announcing his retirement this week finished seventh followed by McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne in eighth. Force India's Esteban Ocon finished ninth splitting both McLaren's with Vandoorne's teammate Fernando Alonso rounding out the top ten.
Lance Stroll finished 11th in the second Williams ahead of 2017 GP3 champion George Russell. making his F1 free practice debut getting some seat time with Force India finishing 12th. Haas' Romain Grosjean took 13th alongside teammate Kevin Magnussen in 14th.
“First and foremost I want to thank Force India because I really enjoyed today. It’s something I have been working towards for a long time and even though it feels normal right now, it’s a surreal feeling to know I have been driving in a race weekend. It’s a huge step up for me, but I have been prepared as well as I could be: I have done days in the simulator with both Mercedes and Force India and I feel that, after my days at the test in Budapest, this was the next step. I didn’t know the car or the circuit and I wanted to learn as much as I could to review and take to Abu Dhabi, a track I know, " said Russell.
The Renault's of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg finished 15th and 16th. Another pair to finish free practice one were the Saubers of Charles Leclerc, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein, and Marcus Ericsson finishing in 17th and 18th.
The Toro Rosso's took the final two spots on the timesheet with Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley finishing 19th and 20th as both cars ran into technical issues during the session.