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Brazilian GP 2016

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Practice 1 Report - Right foot

Lewis Hamilton
© Active Pictures

 

By Dan Knutson in Interlagos

Lewis Hamilton got his Brazilian Grand Prix weekend started off on the right foot as he clocked the fastest time in Free Practice 1 in his Mercedes. His teammate Nico Rosberg ended up third behind Max Verstappen. Rosberg can clinch the championship if he wins the race on Sunday.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Centigrade.)

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes “ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari “ Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes “ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer “ Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India Mercedes “ Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault “ Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari “ Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari “ Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda “ Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes “ Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon. Haas Ferrari “ Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

Two reserve drivers took part in FP 1. Sergey Sirotkin replaced Magnussen in the Renault, and Charles Leclerc drove Gutierrez's Haas.

Bottas and Vettel were the first out in FP1. Three minutes later, Massa headed out onto the 2.677-mile (4.309 km) 15-turn Interlagos track that has so much meaning for him.

"It will be a very special weekend for me, for my last home race, the place where I grew up," said the Brazilian who is retiring from Formula 1. "The place that I remember I was in the grandstand watching and supporting Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, always dreaming to be here. And then I managed to get here and managed to win two races here in Interlagos, getting quite a lot of times on the podium, so it's definitely a fantastic place for me. I will miss, definitely, this race."

The Pirelli tire slick compound choices for this event were: hard, medium and soft. But none of the drivers were keen to use those tires too early, and so the drivers did their installation laps and then waited in the garages. Finally, 12 minutes into FP1, Wehrlein broke the stalemate. He clocked a 1:17.977 on the medium tires.

Hamilton was quickest in FP1 last year with a time of 1:13.543 in his Mercedes. His second flying lap in FP1 this year yielded a 1:13.447 using the medium tires. He then improved to a 1:13.182 and then a 1:13.157. Rosberg was now up to second with a 1:13.187 on the mediums, while Bottas was third with his 1:13.710.

At the 40-minute mark the top 10 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Bottas, Massa, Raikkonen, Vettel, Kvyat and Button.

"The top three have used only the medium tire in this session so far. But it's very likely we'll see some rain at some point over the weekend," Pirelli tweeted.

Next, Pirelli noted: "And we're already quicker than last year's #FP1 time. For reference, 2015 pole was 1m11.282s. Still some way to go to get there."

Alonso was the first back in action, and he had the track to himself until Leclerc joined him.

Thirty-five minutes remained in FP1 when Bottas topped the charts with a time of 1:13.129 set on the soft compound. Verstappen, also on the softs, then sliced around in 1:11.991. Rosberg slotted into second with a 1:12.125. Ricciardo could only do a 1:12.371 on the soft Pirellis.

Hamilton's run on the softs put him back on top as he set a 1:11.895.

With just over 20 minutes to go, the top 10 were now: Hamilton, Verstappen, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Bottas, Perez, Hulkenberg, Massa, Vettel and Raikkonen.

The drivers now began to embark on their long runs on used tires in the final past of FP1. And the top 10 therefore remained unchanged.