Sergio Perez was the fastest in the first practice session of the Brazilian Grand Prix, edging out Charles Leclerc by just 0.004 seconds. The Mexican driver is battling with Leclerc for second place in the driver’s championship. Both drivers are split by just 5 points and with two races left in the season. Max Verstappen was third in FP1 but was also very close to the top two drivers, trailing Perez by just 0.008 seconds. Verstappen would be looking to break his world record of winning the most races in a single F1 season. He is currently leading the chart by winning 14 races and has an excellent chance to extend his lead to 15.
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Sprint weekend is back.
The Brazilian Grand Prix weekend will see the return of the sprint race. This means that after FP1, qualifying will take place to decide the starting order for the sprint race on Saturday. Teams, therefore, know that the FP1 is vital to finding the ideal balance for their cars.
Drivers struggled to find grip on the track.
Most teams opted to run medium and hard tyres at the start of the session to save their soft tyres for the latter part. Max Verstappen complained to his team that his car wasn’t easy to drive on these tyres. “The car doesn’t turn in at all”: were his remarks ten minutes into the session. Lewis Hamilton was another driver to complain about his car’s lack of cornering abilities. He reported to his pit: “Feels like the rear is just floating around. No grip, particularly on the rear.”
Sainz and Norris moment at Turn 3
Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were involved in an incident in turn 3. Sainz had to avoid hitting Norris after the Mclaren driver went slowly on the track. Sainz was forced to dip his wheels onto the grass. He complained on the radio that the action from Norris was “Super Dangerous”, and he got a reprimand from the stewards before for an incident much less severe than this. Sainz will also face a 5-place grid penalty after taking new engine components.
Norris was doubtful to appear on the Friday practice and qualifying event. The British driver suffered from food poisoning on Thursday and could also not fulfill his media duties on Thursday. However, the British driver said he was feeling much better today and returned to action.
Times improved when drivers switched to soft tyres.
Perez posted the fastest session at 1:11.853, just marginally ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen. Carlos Sainz was the fourth fastest, and the qualifying looks to be a straight battle between Ferrari and Red Bull for the pole.
Lewis Hamilton wasn’t far behind in Mercedes. His fastest time was just 0.001 seconds slower than Sainz’s. George Russell finished P6 in FP1, and the top 6 drivers are separated by just 0.2 seconds. On the penultimate race weekend of his career, Sebastian Vettel was an impressive 7th fastest. Mick Schumacher, rumored to have lost his racing seat to fellow countryman Nico Hulkenberg was 8th fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly.