VERSTAPPEN EDGES VETTEL AND HAMILTON TO TOP FIRST PRACTICE IN BRAZIL
Max Verstappen went quickest in a closely contested opening practice session for the Brazlian Grand Prix, with the Red Bull Racing driver finishing just five hundredths of a second ahead of Ferrari’s Sebsatian Vettel and just under a tenth of a second clear of recently crowned 2018 champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Drivers from the top three teams traded fast laps throughout the opening hour of the session, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo initially leading the way with a time of 1m10.139s. That mark was soon bypassed by Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and then by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
All three would be eventually eclipsed by their team-mates, however, with Hamilton rising to top of the order just after the hour mark on supersoft tyres with a lap of 1:09.107.
Verstappen was close behind on track, though, and when he crossed the line he managed to shave 0.049s off Hamilton’s benchmark to claim honours in the session with a time of 1:09.011. Vettel then split the Red Bull and Mercedes driver with a lap of 1:09.060s.
Early pacesetter Ricciardo finished fourth, almost four tenths of a second off the pace of his teammate, while Räikkönen ended the session in fifth place 0.562 adrift of Verstappen. The Finn set his best times on soft tyres, however. Was left to anchor the top six with a best time of 1:09.679.
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen gave Haas definitive best-of-the-rest stus with the Frenchman finishing in seventh place, three tenths of a second ahead of his Danish team-mate. Grosjean was the last driver within a second of Verstappen’s best time.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc took ninth place in the session with a time of 1:10.346m while Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon was tenth, 1.3s behind Verstappen.
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m09.011s - 16
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m09.060s 0.049s 20
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m09.107s 0.096s 28
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m09.395s 0.384s 23
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m09.573s 0.562s 28
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m09.679s 0.668s 23
7 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m09.922s 0.911s 28
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m10.236s 1.225s 15
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.346s 1.335s 28
10 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m10.361s 1.350s 34
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m10.662s 1.651s 34
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m10.679s 1.668s 34
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.685s 1.674s 29
14 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m10.799s 1.788s 30
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m10.934s 1.923s 30
16 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m11.013s 2.002s 28
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m11.037s 2.026s 30
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m11.176s 2.165s 32
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m11.452s 2.441s 23
20 Nicholas Latifi Force India/Mercedes 1m11.493s 2.482s 34