Hamilton sets a new lap record at Interlagos for Mercedes, but there’s trouble for Toro Rosso.
Lewis Hamilton made a flying start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend by leading the opening Formula 1 practice session at Interlagos setting a new track record in the process.
Two weeks on from clinching his fourth F1 title in Mexico, Hamilton showed few signs of letting up at the front of the pack by laying down a blistering pace through FP1, heading up a one-two finish for Mercedes as teammate Valtteri Bottas finished in second place.
Hamilton turned in a fastest lap time of 1:09.202 – a new track record at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace – to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Bottas at the head of the field as both Ferrari and Red Bull struggled to put up any kind of fight in FP1.
Kimi Raikkonen took third for Ferrari, half a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field, with the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Riccardo following in P4 and P5 respectively. Sebastian Vettel faded to sixth for Ferrari, seven-tenths of a second off the lead time.
Filipe Massa started his final home race weekend in good fashion for Williams to lead the midfielders in P7 as both McLarens made the top 10 with Stoffel Vandoorne in eighth and Fernando Alonso in P10. The pair were split by Force India’s Esteban Ocon in P9.
Toro Rosso had a session to forget as it suffered engine issues on both its cars, sidelining Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley. Toro Rosso confirmed Gasly’s car had been hit with an MGU-H failure, while investigations on Hartley’s car are still ongoing.