Lewis Hamilton has set the fastest time in the opening practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix, finishing just 0.096 seconds ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Coming into this weekend with a 19-point advantage over team mate Lewis Hamilton, championship leader Nico Rosberg finished two-tenths of a second adrift in third position, beating Daniel Ricciardo in the other Red Bull.

Verstappen spent a large portion of the first practice session in first position having registered an impressive lap which saw him the first driver to break into the 1:12s. However, once Hamilton had also made the switch to the soft compound tyre, the Briton was able to demote the Dutchman by a narrow margin.

The Williams and Force India drivers were again closely matched as only two-tenths of a second separated all four drivers.

Valtteri Bottas finished the session in fifth position just ahead of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, while Williams team mate Felipe Massa was a fraction behind in eighth place.

Rounding out the top ten was the two Ferrari drivers of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who were both over a second and a half off the pace, although, the times set by the pair weren’t fully representative as neither driver ran the soft tyre, rather choosing to spend the entire session on the mediums.

The Toro Rosso pairing of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat completed 37 laps between them to finish in 11th and 12th place respectively, with a right-rear puncture disrupting Kvyat’s session and limiting the Russian to 15 laps.

GP3 title contender Charles Leclerc made an FP1 appearance stepping in for Esteban Gutierrez, who announced last night that he would not be continuing with the Haas F1 team.

Also driving in FP1 was GP2 racer Sergey Sirotkin who deputised for Kevin Magnussen in the Renault. The Russian’s time in the car was limited due to a fuel injection issue, although still managed to complete 10 laps around the Interlagos circuit.

Image via XPB Images

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Josh Kruse

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