F1 Winter Break
2017
Brazil GP Free Practice: Fastest ever F1 laps at Interlagos as teams ramp up
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Posted By: Jake Boxall-Legge  |  10 Nov 2017   |  6:41 pm GMT  |  79 comments

Mercedes topped the timesheets in the second free practice session for Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton leading a one-two having set a best lap of 1m09.515s.

Hamilton led the way at the end of the soft tyre runs, and reprised his role as pace setter on the supersoft compound, finding half a tenth over team-mate Valtteri Bottas almost half-way through the session.

In FP1, Hamilton’s 1m09.202s had beaten the all-time Interlagos lap record of 1m09.822s – set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004 F1 qualifying – but the new champion was marginally slower in the second session (as last year) as attention turned to race simulations in the final half.

“It was pretty exciting to come to the track with the cars being so much faster this year,” said Hamilton. “It’s physically more demanding than before which is great and it’s obviously quite warm out there today.” Hamilton’s time today was 2.6 seconds faster than the best Friday lap in 2016 and 1.5 secs inside last year’s pole position time of 1m 10.736s.

Allowing for standard track improvement across a weekend, plus engines turned up, in dry conditions that should mean a pole position time of around 1m08.1 or maybe even a high 1m07s lap.

Mercedes looked strongest on high fuel and on both tyre compounds used today. Red Bull’s chassis works well here but the engine gives a bit away on the long pull up the hill from the final corner to the start line.

This is likely to be an entertaining race as the front runners all have nothing to lose now that the titles have been decided, so they will be going for it. The same cannot be said of the midfield where quite a bit can still change.

Williams looks safe in fifth on 76 points, but there could be some sorting out behind with Toro Rosso on 53, Renault on 48 and Haas on 47.

Sebastian Vettel set the early pace on the soft tyres, setting an early benchmark of a 1m10.993 before whittling his time down by a further two-tenths.

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen then went quicker at the end of the first ten minutes, but the duo were quickly shaded by the Mercedes pair and Max Verstappen on their first runs, the Dutchman falling one hundredth of a second behind the Mercedes driver.

Raikkonen was the first driver to show his hand on super-soft tyres, but his first flying run still emerged 0.4s slower than Hamilton’s best time on softs. Vettel reached for the super-soft compound moments later, but was also unable to overhaul Mercedes.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo then clocked in the third fastest time ahead of the Ferraris, although the Australian takes a ten-place grid penalty for the race having used a new MGU-H outside his allowance. Vettel was fourth fastest, marginally faster than Verstappen and Raikkonen.

As always at Interlagos, the midfield is very tight; Esteban Ocon was seventh fastest ahead of Felipe Massa, who announced his second retirement ahead of his home race. This battle for best of the rest behind the top three teams is set to be intense.

Ninth fastest Nico Hulkenberg outpaced Carlos Sainz Jr. by three tenths, although the Renault duo was split by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso.

Sergio Perez, returning to his Force India after GP3 champion George Russell took over FP1 duties, set the 12th best time ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne – who sustained a brief spin at the Senna S half-way through the session – and Lance Stroll, who was visibly aggrieved by traffic on his faster runs.

Antonio Giovinazzi – taking over Kevin Magnussen ‘s car for FP2 – set the slowest time overall having not run on super-softs, 1.117s adrift of Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean in 15th.

Brendon Hartley recovered from an engine failure in first free practice, falling 0.399s behind team-mate Pierre Gasly en route to 17th, and making up for a lost FP1 by managing 54 laps in the afternoon session.

Like Ricciardo, both Toro Rosso drivers have taken fresh engine components, also having to serve grid penalties as a result.

Losing the rear of his Sauber at Mergulho, Marcus Ericsson amazingly kept his car going after kissing the barrier, but was outpaced by team-mate Pascal Wehrlein by just over a tenth of a second.

Newly crowned F2 champion Charles Leclerc had another outing for Sauber in FP1, outpacing Marcus Ericsson by 2/100ths of a second, as did the new GP3 champion George Russell at Force India, setting the 12th fastest time, six tenths off Estaban Ocon.

Meanwhile Antonio Giovinazzi stood in for Kevin Magnussen in FP2 as the Dane swapped FP1 for FP2 with him.

Afterwards Sauber boss Fred Vasseur said that he hoped to be announcing the 2018 driver line up during the Abu Dhabi weekend. Both Leclerc and Giovinazzi are candidates for a seat, as is the encumbant Ericsson.

Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer said the engineers were “very impressed” with Russell, who will also get a run in FP1 in Abu Dhabi. He added: “We’re definitely talking to him about doing some more with us next year.

“We’ll see how he goes in Abu Dhabi but I expect he’ll be as good as here, if not better because he’ll be used to the team and the car. And then next year, although he’ll be doing GP2, he’ll do some stuff with us. He’s definitely on our radar.”

What did you think of today’s running? Who impressed you among the new drivers? Leave your comments in the section below

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79 comments

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1

James just watched you doing a report on Motorsport UK . Good to see you back on screen.📺

Lewis & Bottas & Mercedes looking good 👍
Was Max doing a Alonso "GP2 GP2" on the radio.
Hulks all over the shop being a complete Amatuer.
Renault on the Red Bull trying out a new boost mode 7 (that should worry Ferrari).
Ferrari looking subdued and may even end up on another whooping from Mercedes and Red Bull .

2

Everyone should fear Renault engines next year. They have the speed but the reliability should come.

With next year having 22 races reliability is going to be a tough one probably even Mercedes.

I sure don't want the title decided only on that. Reliability cut things short this year but Singapore had nothing to do with that.

That Red Bull chassis is doing odd things. Has anyone ever thought Newey knows quite a bit about the suspension? They must be doing something with the shocks to have the change in rake front to back but still stiff side to side.

Mercedes seem to have the best aero in a straight line but to gain this advantage the suspension is compromised.

Apparently Liberty is calling Ferrari's bluff. F1 and Ferrari go together. Ferrari can I think make good on this. I wonder what will happen next.

3

Well they should fear Mercedes more than anyone else after that performance by Lewis at Brazil.
Renault actually lowered the output of their engines so they wouldn't blow at Brazil. So abit early to start the flag waking Jdr.

4

Yes, good to see you James,
but even better to see Ms. Piquet !

5

Hi James.

What's your feelings about how important a 1 - 2 is for Mercedes in the standings, since they've had it for the last 3 years? Do you think they will try and secure it with team orders or does Bottas have the pace this weekend? He seems closer to Lewis than in previous races.

LeClerc looks like the real deal. He was a terrier in GP2, hardnosed, resilient and quick. But then again, I thought the same thing about Giovanazzi until his numerous crashes this year.

6

I dunno what he thinks but if it's in their control sure but I doubt it.

7
Tornillo Amarillo

2018 has already begun, Hamilton won't left anything to Bottas -like he did with Rosberg at the end of 2015. Hamilton won't left now any space to Bottas grow and bid for a title fight next year, save for the good words, because he needs to beat his teammate to battle for the next challenge of wins and records.
I'm so happy about it, he really knows what to do!
But Bottas should be fierce and don't give up.

8

He said he would do just that if asked too. That's tricky in the real world.

9

the mexican stewards should've penalised vettel like they did schumacher when he collided withe villeneuve.

10

Uh it looked like racing to me.

11

are you suggesting schumacher’s collision with villeneuve didn’t look like racing?

12

Give it a rest.

13

Cue up Sebee...

1:11.473 - that is the official fastest lap record at Interlagos. Set on Sundays, it is what matters and what goes in the books as a record.

14

New fastest lap set today: 1:11.044.

15

I liked the v10s but they had to be revved very high and had no torque.
Put one of these v6s in a 2004 chassis and watch all the records get smashed

16

Turbo engines work better than atmos at interlagos because a turbo engine can pump air in at sea level pressure, taking away the ratification. Add on more grip from the fat pirellis, and turbo boosted power its not surprising the lap record may be smashed

17

You can't stand that the new cars are faster then the V10s, can you?

18

If it don't rain Sunday forget that record standing.

19

Indeed and the fastest race lap come Sunday will be in the mid 1.12s or possibly even the low 1.13s so no new lap record this year.

20

Well Hamilton holds the most records or tied one of active drivers except one.

That lap record should fall if it's dry that day. Maybe Kimi will get another one.

21

IF IT DONT RAIN

22

I didnt feel the need to state the obvious however you clearly did and in CAPS to boot. Impressive...

23

Jdr, 'doesn't'.

24

Yeah that would be proper English. Sorry I only speak American maybe too much but that's better than trying to fake I'm from the UK.

I want to go there one day for sure.

Back on topic well what do you know Hamilton said he was human after he crashed. I wish he hadn't did that but no really it's OK. Now it's Vettel vs Bottas. I would rather see that. #2 and #3 battling for these last races will be cool and Hamilton gets to pass people. He needs the practice.

He came from 17th to 3rd here. You know that shooting stuff can shake you up even if you weren't there.

I like the track but they need to stop that before someone gets really killed or something.

Kidnapping is very bad there too. To me is more dangerous than simply crashing an F1 car.

That can sure mess with your head.

25

...by the way James, you say 1:09.822 is the record, but records show Barrichello set a pole of 1:10.646 for 2004 Brazilian race and set slightly faster 1:10.229 in the Saturday second free practice. When did he set that non-recorded 1.09.822? (yet another issue with these unofficial lap times, no record of them?)

Wiki listed the previous outright as Rosberg 1:10.023 pole set in 2014 strangely - during the slowest F1 PU era, showing the characteristics of the track, and perhaps how much speed Mercedes had in reserve as well, considering how much slower F1 got first year of PU in 2014.

27

Sebee, surely the fact that James knows about it would suggest that these records are kept.....

28

Well it might be because maybe those other records were set with slight track configuration changes or wiki is just wrong.

29

I think JPM holds the fast lap record. He still holds some I think on power tracks but the twisty tracks are falling.

30

Lewis is driving so fast trying to out run the tax man.

31

If anyone complains about Hamilton's business managers being tax efficient, best check you don't use that sort of legal benefit yourself, such as ISAs in the UK, or tax efficient retirement schemes, business investment tax breaks, personal or family tax allowances and similar.

If you have used any such legal tax reduction option are you not then being a hypocrite taking q swipe at Hamilton?

32

Worth remembering that the Inland Revenue have said that if he had lived, Colin Chapman would have been jailed for his use of off shore companies to pay his drivers without paying the right amount of income tax. The system he used had been in place since the Jim Clark and Graham Hill days apparently.

33

Yes, and all the other F1 drivers live in their country of birth and pay full taxes on all their income, it's only Lewis that takes advantage of tax law.

And all the people who are moaning about it absolutely wouldn't be doing the same if they were able. No siree, absolutely not. No way.

34

And of course he helps employ thousands at Mercedes it seems. They'd not be around were it not for him.

35

Haha you guys get upset about that. Guess what all rich people pay as few taxes as legal. Don't like it change law.

36

He didn't do anything illegal - being rich means he can afford a very capable accountant so he payed the minimum, he doesn't have to run from anything. If laws are imperfect work towards changing them in better, instead in mouthing the ones using them to their advantage.

37

@ Ionut E...I wouldn't be too sure about that. Total reimbursement of VATapparently hinges on the 'usage' component between business and private. If it is deemed to be substantially 'private' then it may become illegal and as such actionable. Everyone has the right to tax minimisation however tax avoidance is illegal. Nothing wrong with the laws as they stand.

38

The flip side is the rich make most of the laws. There making a big deal out of it because his records got leaked.

I mean what about Sir Richard Branson or however you spell it? He knows what he is doing. Hamilton pays others to take care of that for him and maybe he does use that jet for a lot of business. Like flying to the Mercedes factories or maybe he mixes business and pleasure.

Anyhow don't you have to pay to become knighted? If not the UK is Loosing money there. He could pay a few hundred dollars and become a Kentucky Kernal haha...

39

The thing is, most of those who complain about it would do the exact same thing if they were in his position.

40

Not necessarily so. Read my earlier post. Then there's the option of 'risk versus reward.'

41

Remember the Panama papers? I looked in to them and saw Rosberg being listed as one of them. Not a single word about it on F1 related sites or channels that I know of.

42

this should be the Bottas payback race, therefore he'll get the preferential strategy, modes, etc...
It's Bottas' race to lose.

...if there wasn't a trend, how could it be predicted?!

43

Makes sense really for them to take 2nd in WDC for Bottas to confirm his #2 status.

And Force India will phone it in outside of the points to not pay $5500 for every point scored next races, pointlessly taking an expense.

Interestingly Rosberg has come out and made a prediction for 2018. He says no way Vettel wins WDC over Mercedes. Hard to disagree.

Considering how we view it, how do you think Mercedes play 2018? Same as 2017? Give first half...then take it all as of summer break?

44

Bottas was only a half a tenth behind with a lock up. If he out qualifies Vettel and Hamilton and Bottas get away from the rest Hamilton just might want to put him ahead of Vettel in the points.

Anything can change here as you never know if it's going to rain. Hamilton is pretty good in the wet compared to Bottas I think. In FP2 Mercedes seemed to have an advantage on race pace but all that goes out the window if it gets hotter or rains on race day.

45

I will believe that when i see it, Hamilton said VB dosent want his help, he wants to win on merit.
Not sure what he's saying about himself there after asking for or accepting help from VB or the team so many times this year.

46

I read he said depending on circumstances, but he expects help.

Bottas said: "It depends on the situation.

"Lewis has his own ambition, just like any other driver, so he wants to win the races even if his championship is safe.

"I'm not expecting anyone to completely ruin his race for me, so as I said it all depends on the situation."

47

Q: Your team mate Valtteri Bottas has the chance in these last two races to become vice champion. Will you help him?

LH: I am sure. But I don’t think they are going to ask. Valtteri wants to get it on merit. He has been working hard throughout the year and is focused more than ever, so I know he wants to do it on his own. But if the team asks me, then for sure! As I said before, my mentality for the last two races is to win – and I have not been told otherwise.

This is what Lewis said, but it would be a nice payback for the team and VB to help him secure second

48

So many times? How many? In Baku, a race he should have won comprehensively, the team ruined it by not fastening his headrest properly. He asked, which was legitimate, if Valteri wasn't fighting anyone if he could slow Vettel down. When he was told that Bottas was in a battle of his own he didn't insist. In Austria he was clearly faster than Bottas and asked if he could have a go at Kimi, committing to give the place back if he failed. He gave the place back despite being 6 s or so ahead of Bottas. So where else? On the other hand, how many times was Vettel helped?

49

It's just silliness. Shame, 'cos Jimothy seemed to start out okay. But I guess some annoyed him with their exuberance, so has felt the need to get silly in the opposite direction. I will never ever get that. Why stray from what you really believe, just 'cos some others go overboard at times? Makes no sense, but we see it on here time and time again.

50

How has Hamilton ever helped Bottas? I dont remember that ever happening.
Also you forgot Suzuka where VB threw away a possible podium to let Lewis by.
Im not saying VB was wrong to let him by but not sure why Hamilton would think VB dosent want help when he is happy to win from team orders himself.

51

Jimothy, you still haven't explained how Bottas was going to overtake Ricciardo on older tyres.

52

Mercedes power and DRS, Dan would have been under more pressure a few laps earlier, VB was still around .5 lap faster , i cant say he would have done it for sure but it was possible, as James article pointed out.

53

Vettel looking the wrong way, and Grosjean spinning all the time must be some of the highlightes of the season. Ho boy!

54

You know that HAAS car ain't bad but they just can't figure out brake bias.

55

So tired of seeing drivers penalised for using additional engine components. Robs fans who continue to spend huge sums of money to follow this sport.

There has to be a better solution, all F1 supporters want is to see the best drivers compete in the best machinery not subject to countless confusing rules and penalties.

56

Seriously no one likes those penalties. One more race end even less engines next year should make things worse next year.

I wonder if the teams have to pay for another Renault engine as they are experimenting for next year? I would hope all teams that aren't manufacturers only have to buy 3 engines next year no matter how many break? That might help costs for smaller teams.

57

Ah just get rid of rules then.....

58

that russel guy's got to be as freakishly fast as he looks.
this will make you smile.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzjwXx5KHeY

59

Russell was saying in the Sky segment before the start of FP2 that he believes Norris is going to do Super Formula next year instead of F2. That's a shame ... I thought we might see a head-to-head between them at ART.

60

Last year I was thinking that F1 will have trouble providing us with great battles between colossal drivers in the future.
Now, as I see the way Verstappen improved, Ocon's maturity at such a young age, Russel's confidence and ability in the car and hearing how Norris is even highly regarded as a driver, I can say I am very much looking forward seeing them perfect and duel for the world's championships in the future. With narrowing gaps in performance and less aero on the cars we could be in for a treat.

Hopefully F1 will stay safe and not go over board with making the show more extreme to a point where we loose a young driver.

61

Hopefully F1 will stay safe and not go over board with making the show more extreme to a point where we loose a young driver.

Well there's been little sign of the sport doing anything like that...

62

watchout for enaam ahmed. f1’s brilliant at dishing out the unexpected..

63

Bernie Ecclestone never made me smile.

64

he made you addicted to f1 by transforming it into what it is today. he even braught in liberty media. like him or not, he’s a genius..

65

Well he said Ferrari threatening to quit is real. I believe it is.

He made me laugh when he said Mercedes helped Ferrari to become more competitive. But after that first laugh it wasn't funny anymore.

66

I enjoyed seeing that we had the reigning / new F1, F2, GP3 and WEC' Champions on the track for the first time in Formula One history.

67

Yeah that's cool and possibly a future one now that Porsche quit. How many manufacturers are left beside Toyota for LMP1?

68

Russell vs Norris is looking tasty next year, almost a shame one of them will have to come second.

Although you have to think you’d rather be a Mercedes young driver than a McLaren young driver at the moment...

Interesting Wehrlein seems to be out of Sauber next year, what do Mercedes do with him next? Williams?

69

norris has cleared off..

70

No Kyvat would be the best choice over PW for Williams. He's probably better than the alternatives. Probably both Sauber drivers should be the Ferrari junior guys and Mercedes has many options from their other two powered cars. The young drivers there are better than PW.

71

I love that shot with the homes of São Paulo in th background JA. That's got to be quite a unique feature that you don't see at too many F1 tracks around the world. Very cool.

72

Yeah Brazil is a classic for sure. Both tracks had that but haven't seen that elsewhere.

73

Rivazza at Imola had homes in background

Not too many others I can think of

74

Adelaide?

75

Throw it out the window. Rain changes things. It usually does that here.

76

no rain..

77

Wow this is the first time since the Speed Channel starting showing F1 again in the US that I don't get to see qualifying live.

I will sure be glad when ESPN takes over from NBC. When there was a conflict in the past NBCSN would go to CNBC because there is nothing but shopping there at that time.

They say use an app. This shift to only having programs on the internet is bad for those of us out in the country that have internet just not that much data.

They did some of that for the COTA practice sessions. The odd thing is the race was shown on NBC while NASCAR was on NBCSN.

We got every session for Mexico live tho.

Well I'm going to miss that at Brazil. That's a great track with rain always possible.

I'm looking for another word but can only come up with is THIS SUCKS! I'm not sure why Phoenix and NASCAR interfere at 930AM EST when it will probably be dark there then maybe 730AM there.

Liberty has gotten the TV rights better for 2018. You know I started watching in 2007 when either Alonso or Hamilton should have won the WDC. I think they both lost by 1 point that. Not sure why they didn't win the WCC? Was that the spygate stuff? It was the year I saw a fast new guy called Hamilton. I knew he would win one day and he did the next year by one pass on the last lap in Brazil.

Yep this ain't good cause I want to see it live. The race appears to be live but who knows? Last year was a good race and I have seen many good ones there.

I've heard talk about no more GP in Brazil. That will be a sad day indeed if so. I hope some way is found for the UK hopefully at Silverstone.

Some of these tracks need to be there. I'm glad France and Germany are back. Sad to see Malaysia go. I would rather loose the US GP than some of the others like Monza, Silverstone, etc. Silverstone has large crowds and wonder exactly why they are so far in the red. That place could be a museum. Hopefully the present owners could sell that place to someone capable of making money with it. And I sure hope Brazil will be around. So many championships were decided right there.

78

Well done Lewis on another track record long may it continue

79

Can't wait for NBC to be gone -- no quali showing today until 6:30 p.m. Left Coast Time ! ! !

Thankfully, ESPN has it on the internet feed with their comments with LH into the wall already. . .

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