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Tough to call: Bottas edges Hamilton and Vettel in Brazilian F1 GP Practice
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Posted By: Editor   |  09 Nov 2018   |  6:59 pm GMT  |  43 comments

No doubt desperate to end his season with at least one win, Valtteri Bottas topped free practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, albeit just one tenth ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

The Finn – who took pole at the same event last season – has been unlucky not to already have a win to his name in 2018, and he’ll be looking to mark an improvement in form heading into next season by converting his pace into a strong performance in Interlagos.

His time of 1:08.846 was enough to head the timing sheets by just 0.003 of a second ahead of Hamilton, whilst Vettel was also 73 thousandths of a second off the pace.

However, the top three can all stake a claim to have not shown their best efforts during that session. Both Bottas and Vettel backed off in their first flying laps and set their best times on a second timed lap, whilst Hamilton made a mistake by locking up in the middle sector.

Vettel’s running was also interrupted by “something loose” in the cockpit, which took a couple of attempts for Ferrari to identify, although this didn’t appear to affect his qualifying simulations.

Daniel Ricciardo was the fourth fastest driver in FP2, ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen, although it was a problematic day for both Red Bulls.

Ricciardo’s weekend got off to a poor start when it was confirmed that he would receive a five-place grid penalty for taking his sixth turbocharger of the season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed to Sky F1 that the turbocharger had been damaged by a marshal activating a fire extinguisher up the exhaust of the car, reaching the turbocharger.

Verstappen’s session was cut almost exactly in half when the Red Bull team discovered an oil leak at the end of FP1. The lengthy repairs went on into FP2 and the Dutchman only ventured out of the pits with 45 minutes remaining.

He set his only qualifying simulation lap with 30 minutes to go, but he caught a Williams in the final sector and reported to the team that his lap was “compromised”.

In the race simulations, Mercedes didn’t complete many laps on the supersoft tyre, making conclusions difficult against Ferrari and Red Bull, who were closely-matched in the high-1:12s when completing 12-14 lap simulations on the fastest available tyre.

There was a red flag brought out for a crash for Nico Hulkenberg. The Renault driver – who secured his one-and-only pole position at Interlagos in 2010 – put half-a-car on the exit of the final corner and was unable to prevent the car from running wide and into the barrier.

Looking to take advantage of Renault being one car down, Haas finished the practice session as the seventh and ninth fastest, with Romain Grosjean placing his car at the head of the midfield.

They were separated by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, whilst the two Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished tenth and eleventh fastest.

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX, Free Practice
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m08.846s 48
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m08.849s 0.003s 43
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m08.073s 0.073s 42
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m09.164s 0.318s 44
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m09.339s 0.493s 28
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m09.412s 0.566s 42
7 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m09.769s 0.923s 44
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m09.943s 1.097s 44
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m10.007s 1.161s 39
10 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m10.159s 1.313s 45
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m10.320s 1.313s 23
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m10.330s 1.484s 44
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m10.332s 1.486s 36
14 Carlos Sainz Renault No time 1m10.458s 1.612s 48
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.532s 1.686s 44
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m10.569s 1.723s 46
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m10.596s 1.750s 26
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m10.662s 1.816s 44
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m10.734s 1.888s 46
20 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m11.674s 2.828s 6

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

What are your predictions for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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1

while vettel destroys the fia weighing balance in frustration. he seems to behave strangely under pressure.

2

the best driver in the history of the sort destroys the pole record yet again!

3

it’s not abnormal for bottas to edge hamilton after the championship has been decided. 3rd place needs to be secured too.

4

Ferrari must be kicking themselves about the false updates, even with Vettel’s errors they’d be in the hunt if they’d just maintained their level of performance from before.

5

has been unlucky not to already have a win to his name in 2018

Unlucky?

I guess you could call moving over for your team mate bad luck…

6

The Finn – who took pole at the same event last season – has been unlucky not to already have a win to his name in 2018,

That’s one way of looking at it

7

If there is anything that would be a concern for Ferrari, then it is to look for a future and what they can do to ensure there is one.

That’s the premise, for Ferrari, when someone decided to sign LeClerc.

The saying is that is was Marchionne who had wished for this.

The other person is the man responsible for the failure and success of the Ferrari endeavour. He can with some right, take credit for Ferraris success. O’s a r if you want the fact they didn’t won the WDC, but that’s another story, and was not completely in his hands.

For what is it if it is not a success. Ferrari came from the Alonso era, that was to be honest a disaster for Ferrari and Alonso. No matter if Alonso drove a little above the Ferrari capabilities sometimes, sometimes not so much. It was reliability that made him look good besides good strategies and as it has always been the case with Alonso, completely numer one status. And it’s not a usual number one status it’s all team and whoever sits in the other seat who has to work for his success.

Marchionne, Arrivabene et all changed that. But that’s not the entire truth. Luca Di M, already made the ground in a big way. First of all ousting Alonso.

The decision was made, that Seb would be the man to make what Alonso could not, but also change the structure in Ferrari. That came about with the change in the top and down to Arrivo.

They clearly saw Seb as the saviour. And that was not a flawed idea.

But they already had a WDC in the team, but not only that, the latest Ferrari WDC, and for a decade for good measure. Initially they must have brought him in to win after the Alonso failure. But then Seb became available. That could have been a problem. Just like that was a way to make Alo see the writing on the wall so to speak when they brought Kimi in.

But they came along well, they were even friends. But, and it’s a big but. They, Ferrari could never tell Kimi to move aside in a race or tell him that he would be a #2 driver, even less so a Wing-man.

Just think of the implications. in Italy. To tell their latest WDC for a decade to move aside for another driver, albeit a 4 time WDC. That’s just not something that’s going to happen.

With Alonso, when Kimi came in, there was a agreement. No one could challenge him. This needs no proof other than to look at Alonsos whole career and you wouldn’t doubt that. He (Alo) is the most extreme in this case. Just look at his first season in F1. that’s the only season he did not have this approach or help if you want, nor a certain manager who took care of things. And as far as Kimi goes no one doubts that he is completely non political, and that has always been to his disadvantage. At least when it comes down to these matters

But what seams clear right now is that Seb only had an agreement that the one one pole can only challenge for victory.

That being said, Kimi, may not be the absolute numer one in quali, but he’s one of the best racers, and there is where the points are handed out. But this notion is also a bit eschewed or distorted. If one looks at his stats when it come to fastest laps, He’s #2 all time, but with less races. So It seams it boils down to the McLaren days when he was clear to race and had a fast car, he was unstoppable.

But there was clearly an incentive for Ferrari to ensure Seb to be in front. If on analyses the two seasons one can find surprising things.

So a part of this analysis is that LeClerc, no matter how good talent he is, will be easy to tell to move over. I hope that is not the case, that he was able to put something in his contract to prevent at least some of the worst scenarios.

But when one looks at the current state of affairs it doesn’t look good. It could destroy a career.

I believe Seb has one more year to go at it, then maybe it is time for a change.

There could be, or rather are much more to add to this, but just a few thoughts nevertheless

8

TL;DR

9

‘The Finn is unlucky..not to have a win against his name?’ According to Bottas he was not allowed to win. So what does that tell us? If he wins, and it’s all kosher then perhaps Hamilton was given an unfair advantage all season knowing that he had no pressure from his team mate, and I use that term rather ‘loosely’. Conversely if Bottas does win how can we possibly know that deep down it wasn’t a gift? It’s all rather murky at Mercedes.

10

Kenneth, clearly he is talking about Baku, and clearly he was only ‘not allowed to win’ in Russia.

11

Anyone prefer Interlagos as the last race of the season? There might be other good candidates, but Abu Dhabi?

I believe there could be a better alternative. But the big bucks lure, no doubt

12

“Every driver has his own way of trying to achieve success but Valtteri is an absolutely cool Finn. I don’t think Valtteri even realises if something is being manipulated.” Toto Wolf

13

Lewis has lost his edge now he’s wrapped up the WDC. If the last few years are anything to go by, he won’t win again this year. Does anyone remember whether he’s ever won a race after taking the WDC for that year?

14

Pole. AGAIN. Lost his edge, for SURE.

15

DannyRic is the most unfortunate driver this season. Is there an award for this? The guy just can’t get a break. Seriously….just 2 races to go and the fellow can’t have ONE issue free weekend?! Dang! How he retains his sanity is phenomenal.

16

All of the top 6 are very close. Now that is probably because Brazil is short but still mind blowing.

17

Rumour has it, there is a video floating around of Marko offering a Mexican marshall 5 million pesos or 3 cans of Redbull to spray foam in Ricciardo’s exhaust to destroy his turbo when his car grinds to a halt. In the video, you see the terrified marshall accepting the 3 cans of Redbull and then hear a kid yelling, “El Diablo! El Diablo!” as Marko vanishes into the thin Mexican air.

Meanwhile, Daniel, in an interview in Brazil, he says that he still has faith in his team, his engineers and his mechanics after his most trying season.

“I don’t really have any explanation. It sounds really simple and silly, but bad luck really is the best term I can use. All the team still like me, so no-one has it in for me. It has just been the way it has worked this year.”

Aw, c’mon Daniel. Don’t sound so sensible, it will upset the tin foil gang. It is also very insulting to Marko after all the planning and the conniving he has been doing this year. Give him some credit.

Best call Kenneth, you’re losing touch with fantasy.

18

I get the joke but seriously, as a Dan Fan, I don’t really think 5hat he is hard done by with the turbo change. I think it’s a bit of RBR or Renault spin on the situation… the fire marshall only squirted the extinguisher up the exhaust pipe because flames were coming out there, which indicates that the turbo was probably already damaged and would have need to be changed anyway.

19

This we know by way of gossip, and imagination.

Ric on radio to Horner: “I really want to finish the race on Sunday, and end my time here on a good note.

Horner: You had a lot more laps in Mexico, that was a good note.

Ric: Yea but uhm if I could turn my engine down towards the end if i’m in the lead or up front, or rather you could.”

Horner: You ask a lot from me, you know we can’t do such a thing. It’s you know…

Ric:” But still…we need to get to the checkered flag this time don’t you think? And what do you mean, Max’s was..”

Helmut interrupts: “Yours was turned down as well, but to a much higher degree. You were not happy with 11 laps, so you got more. Still not happy huh.” You tell that to your new employer”

Ric: “Can you the please not turn down the engine, to a halt?”

Helmut. “We can’t do either it’s against the rules. You can use the happy mode though”

Ric:” I can’t continue this conversation. I just want to finish the race, can we do that?”

Helmut: “You ask the wrong questions. But let me get this right. You want to do laps, right?”

Ric: Yes but almost to the end is worse than 11 or 12

Helmut hollers as Ric starts to walk away. “You will get party laps, happy laps, then we turn down, like you wanted.” “So it’s 10 then, 10 happy laps, right”

20

Hmm,considering day 1 is pretty much set up based running,I have trouble bothering with times

Sure,they give us all a rough idea of the pace,but to bothering with the details of 0.003 sec is an exercice n pointlessness

Lewis will smoke em all tomorrow

21

And for the unluckiest of the unluckiest machine wrecking pilots since the Fangio kidnapping.

How many laps will the pore man suffer this time. Such questions will not be answered until the plumes of smoke arise and the badger throws his glove.

Does it mean a duell will take place at dawn with a spicy Horner or wlll he not look back in anger and look for honey elsewhere.

We will have to wait and see

22

Things were a lot different during the days of Fangio. On the one hand death happened a lot on the other he didn’t face much competition.

I think there were far fewer races in a season too.

23

Pirelli mandated tire pressures:

21.5 psi front, 23.5 psi rear.

W.T.F.!!!!

Tire pressures for a racing car should be between 13-16 psi. If Pirelli can’t make a tire whose carcass won’t overheat when run at those pressures, then get someone else in who can!

Gawd I hope it rains, ‘cos if it’s dry they will be tip-toeing around with those tire pressures.

24

Michelin would surely do a better job than Pirelli.

25

Well what about Hankook? They are the only ones bidding against them.

Yeah the rims need to be larger to get those tire pressures you want. A 13″ rim plain sux.

26

I’ve said it before. Draw a psi number from a hat and hand it out before the race.

The result cannot be worse than what Pirelli have accomplished lately.

In fact a well thought out PSI number would be better than change the number of compounds every now and then. What that has accomplished so far is merely confusion at best

27

Interesting

However,I’d wager the folk at Pirelli know a thing or 2 about tyres

15 psi from here sounds like off road style

28

Assuming it stays dry Vettel has big opportunity to beat Hamilton this weekend (as does Bottas I think) – they must make the most of it. I have a feeling Hamilton is going to need some rain to have a chance of beating Vettel because LH has never looked entirely comfortable when he’s raced Interlagos in the dry . He crashed in qualy there last year and was soundly beaten there in dry conditions by Nico Rosberg in 2014 and 2015. By LH’s high standards (the 2016 win the wet aside) this actually a bit of a bogey circuit for LH- at least in the dry. Mclaren , Williams and Hartley all struggling again.

29

we’ll find all that out when the racing starts.

30

Interlagos and Suzuka have always been bogey tracks for lewis. Add monaco, and spa as well. He’s incredibly fast at each venue but for one reason or another the wins are barren, to his standards.

Interlagos remains hulkenbergs strongest track, strange to see him bin it.

31

I’d be putting all my money on the BOT … Lewis will not be so aggressive off the line and in overtaking him. So a win here will be LHs gift to his wingman… guaranteed

32

Hamilton has won on every single track on the calendar. Vettel can’t win in Germany well Hockin…..

33

That’s only because by the time the circus gets to Interlagos Lewis has already won the WDC(or lost it), except for 2008.

35

Bottas was not desperate a few races ago, this article suggest, just unlucky. Now he is.

But how unlucky can one be as a wing-man?

36

MISSING

Have you seen this person

Is believed to own a cigarette factory or two

Missing from Maranello or basically missing in all respects

Known to have a cigarette at hand, it’s a lifestyle if you ask, and that would be a red flag you”ve encountered him

He goes under the name of Louis Carey Camilleri

Can you help

37

Yeah I need a Marlboro.

38

So a reprise from last year. Bottas on form again, when the weight troubled lady had sung her tune.

39

The ‘payoff’.hahaahah

40

Looks like a pick n mix FP1 and FP2.
Well done Bottas. Less than a tenth of a second separate the main contenders.
Anyone’s quali from the 3 big guns.
Hulks had a Bit of a fright.
So 5 grid place penalty for Ricci . From something the Stewards did at the Mexico gp …using a fire extinguisher. Surely that should be one for the FIA to overturn as the driver is blameless. But the Stewards deserve a red card.
That’s why like in FIFA , Priemier league referees are paid to travel and are continuously assessed. Are on a full time wage.
Anyone not up to scratch ends up BLOWING their whistles at a Beezer Home league on a park pitch.
Time for a Pool of professional race stewards and circuit crews who know , what not to do with fire extinguishers …& able to distinguish when it’s just brake smoke or someone whacking a steak on a BBQ in the neighbouring campsite.

41

I can’t understand why the FIA is not doing this? When Indycars used to cone to Australia they would bring all their own marshall’s and track vehicles .. including F-250 recovery trucks… not some local farmer with his 12 tonne payloader (sorry Jules) . Plus they had sweepers to get rid of debris and smashed up carbon fibre… not a few guys with straw brooms! It’s about time Liberty took F1 professional.

There is still a place for local marshall’s but there should be a professional at each marshall’s post. Then you wouldn’t get some idiot waving the chequered flag too early 🏁 or flaggies that get excited and don’t know the difference between waved and static yellows or double-yellows.

42

That’s what I thought about Haas. Take points away from the team but not the driver.

43

Stewards? Marshal you mean. Stewards are not trackside. So your comparison with referees is false.

And isn’t the driver always blameless for grid penalties for mechanical failures, except maybe when he crashes?!

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