Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas has remained at the top of the timesheets as Friday’s track action drew to a close for the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The Mercedes duo remained comfortably ahead of the chasing Red Bull Racing and Ferrari teams, although their rivals did manage to close down the half-second gap the Silver Arrows enjoyed in the day’s opening practice session.

The forecasted afternoon showers did not eventuate and amid hotter track conditions, neither Hamilton now Bottas was able to improve on their lap record-breaking pace from earlier in the day. A predicted 1-2 result still eventuated, however, with Hamilton posting a 1:09.515 on the Super Soft tyre to keep him less than 0.05 seconds clear of his teammate.

Daniel Ricciardo finished a positive third-fastest in the session and just two-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace, however the Australian is braced for a 10-place grid drop for further power unit changes thanks to his retirement last time out in Mexico.

His teammate and Mexico Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen was fifth-fastest. The Red Bull Racing pair was split by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, while the German’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen slipped to sixth and complained of vibrations.

Esteban Ocon led the ‘best of the rest’ charge in the midfield, finishing seventh-fastest in his Force India ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg.

Tenth-fastest was McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, despite more Honda power unit dramas that triggered anger from the former World Champion when he returned to the pit lane.

The sister Renault and Force India runners of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Pérez were eleventh and twelfth-fastest respectively, the latter having his first hit-out for the weekend after GP3 Series champion George Russell drove the VJM10 in FP1.

The second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne was thirteenth-fastest, despite the Belgian suffering a spin at the Senna ‘S’. He finished ahead of the second Williams of Lance Stroll.

Haas’ Romain Grosjean was another driver to have a spin during the session, with the Frenchman looping his Ferrari-powered car at the Descida do Lago. He finished fifteenth-fastest in the session.

With replacement power unit parts fitted to the back of their STR12 chassis’, both Toro Rosso drivers sought to make up for lost FP1 time. Pierre Gasly finished sixteenth-fastest, one spot ahead of birthday boy Brendon Hartley, with the pair clocking up almost 100 laps between them in the session.

Both drivers will, however, take engine penalties for having to take on new power unit elements. Hartley will drop 10 grid places, while Gasly will take a 25-place hit.

The two Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson finished 18th and 19th overall ahead of the second Haas driven by Ferrari protégé Antonio Giovinazzi. Ericsson’s session was marred by an off-track moment at Mergulho which saw the Swedish driver brush the wall.

Saturday’s final practice session at Interlagos will begin at 11:00 local time (GMT -2).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:09.515 Pirelli Super Soft 42
2. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:09.563 Pirelli Super Soft 45
3. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:09.743 Pirelli Super Soft 37
4. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:09.875 Pirelli Super Soft 48
5. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:09.886 Pirelli Super Soft 38
6. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:10.117 Pirelli Super Soft 45
7. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:10.306 Pirelli Super Soft 49
8. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:10.373 Pirelli Super Soft 42
9. Nico Hülkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:10.396 Pirelli Super Soft 39
10. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:10.655 Pirelli Super Soft 31
11. Carlos Sainz Jr es Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:10.685 Pirelli Super Soft 42
12. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:10.695 Pirelli Super Soft 43
13. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:10.902 Pirelli Super Soft 38
14. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:11.064 Pirelli Super Soft 44
15. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:11.300 Pirelli Super Soft 39
16. Pierre Gasly fr Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:11.422 Pirelli Super Soft 44
17. Brendon Hartley nz Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:11.821 Pirelli Super Soft 54
18. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:11.857 Pirelli Super Soft 43
19. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:11.989 Pirelli Soft 17
20. Antonio Giovinazzi it Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:12.417 Pirelli Soft 37

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Jordan Mulach

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Canberra born and raised journalist, living in Brisbane. Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. iRacing addict