Hamilton leads Bottas during first practice in Brazil
Brazil Grand Prix - Free Practice 1

Hamilton leads Bottas during first practice in Brazil

Mercedes led the way in the opening practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix, with newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton 0.127s faster than teammate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the timesheets.

Hamilton's time of 1:09.202 was 0.62s faster than the existing Interlagos track record held by Rubens Barrichello since qualifying for the 2004 grand prix. Such a step in speed underlines the impressive performance of this year's cars, with significantly quicker lap times expected as the weekend progresses.

It also underlined the impressive performance of the Mercedes on a track where Ferrari and Red Bull are expected to perform well. Hamilton held a 0.542s advantage over the fastest Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who just beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen to third place by 0.006s.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest, but will face a ten-place penalty from wherever he qualifies on Saturday after his team was forced to fit an eighth MGU-H unit to his car ahead of the start of the session. He finished 0.156s up on Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, who spun at low speed early in the session and failed to hook up a clean lap over the 90 minutes.

Felipe Massa got his final Brazilian Grand Prix off to a strong start, with the seventh fastest time in the Williams. Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso also featured in the top ten for McLaren and were split by the Force India of Esteban Ocon in ninth.

Lance Stroll was 0.530s off his Williams teammate in 11th ahead of Mercedes junior driver George Russell, who made his race weekend debut during a first practice outing in Sergio Perez's Force India. It was Russell's second F1 experience after a two-day test with Mercedes in Hungary earlier this year, and he impressed with a time 0.593s off teammate Ocon.

The Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were 13th and 14th, with Magnussen due to hand over his car to Ferrari-backed Antonio Giovinazzi for the afternoon session. Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg were 15th and 16th for Renault ahead of the two Saubers after Charles Leclerc substituted in for Pascal Wehrlein in the morning session.

Both Toro Rossos hit trouble, with Brendon Hartley's Renault power unit expiring early in the session and Pierre Gasly completing a total of just four laps. The problems follow three power unit failures on Hartley's car at the Mexican Grand Prix and will result in grid penalties for both cars ahead of Sunday's race.

Related news

Fernando Alonso to retire from Formula One at the end of the season

Fernando Alonso to retire from Formula One at the end of the season

McLaren has announced Fernando Alonso will retire from Formula One at the end of the 2018 season.

Lorenzo defeats Marquez in late Austria battle

Lorenzo defeats Marquez in late Austria battle

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo took his third victory of the 2018 MotoGP season after outduelling Honda rider Marc Marquez at the Red Bull Ring.

Marquez pips Dovizioso to claim Austrian GP pole

Marquez pips Dovizioso to claim Austrian GP pole

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez will start the Austrian Grand Prix on pole position for Honda after beating Italian Andrea Dovizioso's time by 0.002 seconds in qualifying on Saturday.

Ducati's Dovizioso wins three-way Czech GP thriller

Ducati's Dovizioso wins three-way Czech GP thriller

Italian Andrea Dovizioso won a Czech Grand Prix thriller in a Ducati one-two on Sunday while Honda's Marc Marquez finished third to stretch his MotoGP lead to 49 points.

Andrea Dovizioso beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno

Andrea Dovizioso beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso took pole position for MotoGP's Czech Grand Prix, beating Valentino Rossi by two tenths in a thrilling pole shootout at Brno.

Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull at end of 2018

Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull at end of 2018

Daniel Ricciardo will leave the Red Bull Formula 1 team at the end of the 2018 season and is understood to be joining Renault.

Superior Tanak eases to Rally Finland victory

Superior Tanak eases to Rally Finland victory

Ott Tanak completed a dominant Rally Finland victory for Toyota with a calm run to the finish, while Thierry Neuville limited the damage to his World Rally Championship lead.

Hamilton eases to Hungary win, Vettel survives Bottas clash for second

Hamilton eases to Hungary win, Vettel survives Bottas clash for second

Lewis Hamilton took his fifth win of the season with victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix as title rival Sebastian Vettel and teammate Valtteri Bottas came to blows on track behind him.

Tanak takes step closer to Rally Finland win

Tanak takes step closer to Rally Finland win

Toyota World Rally Championship driver Ott Tanak will take a lead of nearly 40 seconds into the final day of Rally Finland.

RELATED NEWS

Fernando Alonso to retire from Formula One at the end of the season
Formula One news

Fernando Alonso to retire from Formula One at the end of the season

McLaren has announced Fernando Alonso will retire from Formula One at the end of the 2018 season.

Lorenzo defeats Marquez in late Austria battle
Austrian GP

Lorenzo defeats Marquez in late Austria battle

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo took his third victory of the 2018 MotoGP season after outduelling Honda rider Marc Marquez at the Red Bull Ring.

Marquez pips Dovizioso to claim Austrian GP pole
Austrian GP - Qualifying

Marquez pips Dovizioso to claim Austrian GP pole

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez will start the Austrian Grand Prix on pole position for Honda after beating Italian Andrea Dovizioso's time by 0.002 seconds in qualifying on Saturday.

Ducati's Dovizioso wins three-way Czech GP thriller
Czech GP

Ducati's Dovizioso wins three-way Czech GP thriller

Italian Andrea Dovizioso won a Czech Grand Prix thriller in a Ducati one-two on Sunday while Honda's Marc Marquez finished third to stretch his MotoGP lead to 49 points.

Andrea Dovizioso beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno
MotoGP Czech Grand Prix - Qualifying

Andrea Dovizioso beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso took pole position for MotoGP's Czech Grand Prix, beating Valentino Rossi by two tenths in a thrilling pole shootout at Brno.

Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull at end of 2018
Formula 1 news

Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull at end of 2018

Daniel Ricciardo will leave the Red Bull Formula 1 team at the end of the 2018 season and is understood to be joining Renault.

Superior Tanak eases to Rally Finland victory
WRC Rally Finland

Superior Tanak eases to Rally Finland victory

Ott Tanak completed a dominant Rally Finland victory for Toyota with a calm run to the finish, while Thierry Neuville limited the damage to his World Rally Championship lead.

Hamilton eases to Hungary win, Vettel survives Bottas clash for second
Hungarian Grand Prix

Hamilton eases to Hungary win, Vettel survives Bottas clash for second

Lewis Hamilton took his fifth win of the season with victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix as title rival Sebastian Vettel and teammate Valtteri Bottas came to blows on track behind him.

Tanak takes step closer to Rally Finland win
WRC Rally Finland

Tanak takes step closer to Rally Finland win

Toyota World Rally Championship driver Ott Tanak will take a lead of nearly 40 seconds into the final day of Rally Finland.