The first free practice session for the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix took place earlier today at the Autodromo José Carlos Pace, as teams and drivers got the first opportunity to evaluate track conditions, tyre management and identify the ideal set-up ahead of the qualifying session which will take place on Sunday and most importantly ahead of Sunday’s event.
The track action began on Friday under cloudy skies but the chance of rain during either of the two practice sessions was low and the first session took place in normal conditions, which could prove important given the fact that Sunday is expected to be warmer again – up to 28C – with more sustained spells of sunshine up to and throughout the race. A characteristic Sao Paulo thunderstorm is expected to follow, but with the race due to start at 3:10pm local time, there now seems to only be an outside chance of this happening before the end of the race. Weather forecasts change quickly in this part of the world, however, so the teams will be keeping a close eye on their radars.
Both Ferrari cars started the session by running the new floor, as the Maranello team added more fins to the floor to try to calm down the unpredictability and eliminate the car’s unpredictable characteristic with these new upgrades. In the second half of the session, the floor came off on both their cars for the final set of runs in P1.
Regarding the final results, Max Verstappen led a close first practice session at Interlagos where the top three teams were covered by less than a tenth of a second. The Mexican Grand Prix winner set a scorching pace through the twisty middle sector of the lap, almost four-tenths of a second faster than anyone including his team mate. That was enough to overcome the times lost to the Ferraris and Mercedes in the other two sectors.
Sebastian Vettel got within five-hundredths of a second of Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton, now sporting five stars on his helmet following his world championship victory in Mexico, had a similar gap to Vettel in third place.
All three set their best times on the super-soft tyres as did Daniel Ricciardo, who was almost four-tenths of a second off his team mate. Kimi Raikkonen over half a second off Verstappen but set his best time on the soft tyres. Valtteri Bottas, who lost some time while Mercedes investigated an oil leak, rounded off the usual top six.
2018 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results
1. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 1m09.011s
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 0.049s
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 0.096s
4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing + 0.384s
5. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari + 0.562s
6. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 0.668s
7. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team + 0.911s
8. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team + 1.225s
9. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team + 1.335s
10. Esteban Ocon FRA Racing Point Force India F1 Team + 1.350s
11. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team + 1.651s
12. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team + 1.668s
13. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team + 1.675s
14. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing + 1.788s
15. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1.923s
16. Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team + 2.002s
17. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing + 2.026s
18. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 2.376s
19. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team + 2.441s
20. Nicholas Latifi CAN Racing Point Force India F1 Team + 2.482s