Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Brazil FP1

Lewis Hamilton at Mexican Grand Prix Formula One F1 Mercedes

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his vehicle during the first free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

The previous track record of 1:09.822 was set by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in 2004 qualifying for Ferrari.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, 0.415sec adrift of Bottas, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen a further 0.006sec slower.

The German was seven tenths off the pace, suffering a spin on the exit of turn nine during his opening stint. Giovinazzi had originally been slated for FP1 but, with rain forecast to hit the afternoon session, Haas put Magnussen in the auto for the first 90 minutes to ensure he maximised his time in the vehicle.

Both Toro Rossos hit trouble, with Brendon Hartley's Renault power unit expiring early in the session and Pierre Gasly completing a total of just four laps.

Hartley was unable to set a time after being forced to stop his auto in a cloud of smoke on his opening lap, while Gasly was limited to just one timed lap before his session was halted by an MGU-H problem.

On his debut run in a Grand Prix weekend, 19-year-old Briton George Russell impressed in the Force India and posted the 12th fastest time.

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Toro Rosso had a less fruitful session as both its drivers were sidelined by engine issues.

The GP3 champion improved by over 1.2 seconds over the course of the session and was within six tenths of regular driver Esteban Ocon. Williams' Felipe Massa, set for his final Brazilian Grand Prix before retiring from F1 for good, was eighth - an encouraging start for the team on a weekend it could secure fifth in what has been a nervy midfield battle.

Renault suffered a hard session with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz 15th and 16th respectively, Hulkenberg also angered Hamilton after pushing the Mercedes onto the grass as he made a move up the inside while on a fast lap.

The drivers' championship is done and dusted for Lewis Hamilton, but team mate Valtteri Bottas still has a shot at finishing second.

It also underlined the impressive performance of the Mercedes on a track where Ferrari and Red Bull are expected to perform well. Brazil will stage the Formula One Grand Prix's penultimate race of the season on Sunday.

Resurgent Red Bull believe they can win the last two races, in Brazil this weekend and Abu Dhabi at the end of November, while Ferrari are also eager to wrap up 2017 with a flourish.



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