Mercedes duo bury competition in opening Brazilian GP practice

The curbs in Brazil
The curbs in Brazil are painted to match the country colors

Using the latest Aldo Costa designed upgrades on the Mercedes F1 car, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas buried the competition in opening practice for the Brazilian GP at Interlagos. Up until now the focus was on the championship and Costa was conservative with his upgrades, but now that the titles are won he is already testing bits and pieces for 2018 and the Mercedes cars remain in a class of their own.

Hamilton's fast lap of 1m09.202s was 0.127s faster than his teammate while Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was 3rd quick 0.542s behind Hamilton.

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top-5.

Hartley's Renault engine spews its guts all over the asphalt
Hartley's Renault engine spews its guts all over the asphalt

Sebastian Vettel in the #5 Ferrari was only 6th quick after being balked on his fast lap by Carlos Sainz Jr. and was seen shaking his fist at the moving chicane.

Completing the top ten were Williams’ Felipe Massa in seventh, and the McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso in eighth and tenth, split by Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

In Sergio Perez’s sister Force India, GP3 champion George Russell made an impressive F1 practice debut, finishing 12th.

It was another miserable session for Toro Rosso. With both drivers already facing grid penalties for taking on new power unit elements, Brendon Hartley managed just two laps before his car came to a smoky halt, while technical problems limited Pierre Gasly to five. This is the Renault engine McLaren switched over to for 2018. They will be sorry.

Results

POS NO DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:09.202 +0.000s 36
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:09.329 +0.127s 43
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:09.744 +0.542s 32
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:09.750 +0.548s 31
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:09.828 +0.626s 38
6 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:09.984 +0.782s 32
7 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:10.102 +0.900s 28
8 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:10.402 +1.200s 26
9 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:10.454 +1.252s 36
10 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:10.476 +1.274s 24
11 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:10.632 +1.430s 42
12 35 George Russell Force India Mercedes 1:11.047 +1.845s 29
13 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:11.188 +1.986s 29
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:11.463 +2.261s 30
15 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:11.467 +2.265s 32
16 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:11.608 +2.406s 35
17 37 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:11.802 +2.600s 32
18 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:11.898 +2.696s 28
19 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Renault 1:14.034 +4.832s 5
20 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Renault No Time No Time 2

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