Brazilian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

A lot of fight

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton 

 © RV Press


By Dan Knutson in Interlagos

"I still have a lot of fight left in me," the newly anointed world champion Lewis Hamilton said when he arrived at the Interlagos circuit on Thursday. He then proved it by clocking the fastest lap times in both of Friday's practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix. He set an unofficial lap record in FP1 with a time of 1:09.202 on the super soft tires. His time of 1:09.515 on the super softs in FP2 was slower but still fast enough to put him at the top of the order.

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes - Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Renault - Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi replaced Magnussen in FP2. The other Haas driver, Grosjean, was first out on track.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Centigrade).

Toro Rosso had put a new power unit in Hartley's car during the break and he was also one of the first to go out.

Nobody had bothered to try the Pirelli medium compound slicks in FP1, as the preferred tires were the soft and super soft.

Vettel used the softs to set the early mark of 1:10.775, which Raikkonen beat with a 1:10.450.

All the drivers ran the soft Pirellis in the early going as Bottas took over first after lapping in 1:09.860. Hamilton then clocked a 1:09.792 followed by a 1:09.742.

"So far, everyone is out on the soft tire in #FP2. Expect some qualifying simulations on the super soft later," Pirelli tweeted.

Just before the 30-minute mark, most of the drivers were in the pits. And the top 10 were Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Vettel, Ricciardo, Massa, Ocon, Vandoorne and Sainz.

Raikkonen was the first to try the super softs in FP2, which put him in that third place. Vettel's run on the red sidewall tires put him up to third with a 1:09.875.

Next up was Bottas. He improved to 1:09.563 which put him out front. Hamilton sliced 0.048 of a second off of that with a 1:09.515. So far the super soft was not a whole lot faster than the soft tires.

As the rest of the drivers ran the reds, Ricciardo clocked a 1:09.743 to move into third. Ericsson spun and tapped the barriers at Turn 11.

Now at the halfway mark the order was: Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Vettel, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Massa, Hulkenberg, Ocon and Sainz.

As the last half hour approached, the drivers began to do their long run race simulations. The top 10, led by the fighting Hamilton, remained unchanged.

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