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F1 - Verstappen edges Vettel and Hamilton to top first practice in Brazil

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F1 - 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix - FP1

Max Verstappen went quickest in a closely contested opening practice session for the Brazlian Grand Prix, with the Red Bull Racing driver finishing just five hundredths of a second ahead of Ferrari’s Sebsatian Vettel and just under a tenth of a second clear of recently crowned 2018 champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

Drivers from the top three teams traded fast laps throughout the opening hour of the session, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo initially leading the way with a time of 1m10.139s. That mark was soon bypassed by Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and then by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

All three would be eventually eclipsed by their team-mates, however, with Hamilton rising to top of the order just after the hour mark on supersoft tyres with a lap of 1:09.107.

Verstappen was close behind on track, though, and when he crossed the line he managed to shave 0.049s off Hamilton’s benchmark to claim honours in the session with a time of 1:09.011. Vettel then split the Red Bull and Mercedes driver with a lap of 1:09.060s.

Early pacesetter Ricciardo finished fourth, almost four tenths of a second off the pace of his teammate, while Räikkönen ended the session in fifth place 0.562 adrift of Verstappen. The Finn set his best times on soft tyres, however. Was left to anchor the top six with a best time of 1:09.679.

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen gave Haas definitive best-of-the-rest stus with the Frenchman finishing in seventh place, three tenths of a second ahead of his Danish team-mate. Grosjean was the last driver within a second of Verstappen’s best time.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc took ninth place in the session with a time of 1:10.346m while Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon was tenth, 1.3s behind Verstappen.

2018 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 16 1:09.011
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 20 1:09.060 0.049
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 28 1:09.107 0.096
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 23 1:09.395 0.384
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 28 1:09.573 0.562
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 23 1:09.679 0.668
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 28 1:09.922 0.911
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 15 1:10.236 1.225
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber 28 1:10.346 1.335
10 Esteban Ocon Racing Point Force India 34 1:10.361 1.350
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 34 1:10.662 1.651
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 34 1:10.679 1.668
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber 29 1:10.685 1.674
14 Lance Stroll Williams 30 1:10.799 1.788
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 30 1:10.934 1.923
16 Lando Norris McLaren 28 1:11.013 2.002
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 30 1:11.037 2.026
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 32 1:11.176 2.165
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 23 1:11.452 2.441
20 Nicholas Latifi Racing Point Force India 34 1:11.493 2.482