Lewis Hamilton is the fastest driver of the opening free practice session of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
The third and final Sprint race weekend kicked off at Interlagos with the opening free practice session.
FP1 was the only session ahead of the qualifying, which increased its value. That’s why we saw a lot of drivers leaving their garages straightaway. Weather was a concern as well because heavy clouds were around the track.
Red Bull was expected to be the favorite in Brazil and they did not waste any time – Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez locked out the first two positions in the timesheets straightaway. Valtteri Bottas split the Red Bull duo a bit later.
Despite tire vibrations, Verstappen showed impressive pace on medium tires, going quicker and quicker. Lewis Hamilton temporarily got to 2nd but was eventually dropped down to 3rd by Perez. The Briton was not happy with the car set-up and the front suspension. At the same time, Bottas reported that there were drops of rain at the track.
Alpine felt comfortable at Interlagos – Fernando Alonso was sitting in 9th, while Esteban Ocon got to P4 with hard tires on. Ferrari also had good performance in the practice – Sainz was 4th and Leclerc was 2nd, just 0.005 seconds away from Verstappen.
Verstappen and Perez had a run on soft tires and they improved their lap times dramatically. Hamilton and Bottas also decided to put the softest compound on and they followed their championship rivals in the standings.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Hamilton managed to collect a good lap and also got a tow in the final sector – he became the new leader of the session. Several minutes later, he went three-tenths quicker.
Hamilton’s lap time remained unreachable until the checkered flag, so the Mercedes driver topped the standings of the session. Verstappen was second, while Perez had the third-best time of the session.
The results of the F1 Sao Paulo GP FP1:
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||+0.367|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||+0.442|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+1.302|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+1.363|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1.393|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1.537|