Hamilton tops FP1 with new engine in Brazil

12-11-2021 16:30
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Hamilton tops FP1 with new engine in Brazil

Strapped with a new engine, Lewis Hamilton recorded the fastest time in the opening practice session of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend. The Mercedes driver reported some suspension issues but came into the pits to make changes. His rival for the title Max Verstappen finished second fastest, over three-tenths behind. Sergio Perez rounded out the top three as the Mexican beat his counterpart. 

As Hamilton left the garage, Mercedes confirmed that they've added a fifth internal combustion engine [ICE] to his car. This means that Hamilton has a five-place penalty for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. The Brit reported a problem with his suspension setting and spent some time in the garage changing this. But he emerged from the pits and went fastest on the soft tyre. 

Mercedes racked up the mileage, with both Hamilton and Bottas completing 20 laps in the opening 40 minutes, compared to Verstappen's 10. Ferrari proved they continue to have momentum over McLaren. The Italian team had another strong session finishing inside the top six, whilst McLaren failed to breach the top 10. Alpine also had a decent session with both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon in the top 10. 

How it happened

With teams and drivers getting just one hour of practice prior to qualifying, there was a rush out of the pitlane as soon as the light turned green. Wasting no time, Kimi Raikkonen set the first fastest lap of the day. He was quickly followed by Bottas. 

The circuit looked to be rather dusty and thus rather changeable throughout the hour. The times quickly tumbled into the 1:10s with Verstappen taking the lead in the standings after 20 minutes. On the radio, a frustrated Hamilton sounded that he wanted to change the set-up of his suspension. The limited-time ahead of qualifying adds to the stress. 

Ferrari proved that they're looking strong in Brazil. At the halfway stage, Leclerc almost matched Verstappen's time and Sainz found himself ahead of Hamilton. Drivers reported drizzle on the circuit whilst Hamilton went into the pits to change his suspension setting. 

Hamilton emerged and improved on the soft tyres. The Brit finished three-tenths ahead of his rival. 

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