Practice 1 Report – Continuity
Max Verstappen, Mexican GP 2018
© RV Press
By Dan Knutson
Having won the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks earlier, Max Verstappen continued his quick ways be clocking the fastest lap time in the first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. But he had by no means dominated FP1 as less of a tenth of a second covered the top three consisting of Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari – Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen; Racing Point Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes –Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda – Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault – Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
The reserve drivers taking part in FP1 were: Nicholas Latifi in Perez’s Force India, Lando Norris in Alonso’s McLaren, and Antonio Giovinazzi in Ericsson’s Sauber.
Pirelli’s slick tire compounds for the weekend were the medium, soft and super soft.
Ricciardo lined up early to be the first out on the 15-turn 2.677-mile (4.309 km) Autódromo José Carlos Pace, aka Interlagos. The two McLarens followed him.
“The track is quite challenging with a number of elevation changes and a variety of cambers in the corners,” Sainz, who switches to McLaren next year, said. “It feels like a rollercoaster ride! The in-field bit is tough as it’s twisty with a couple of blind and sharp turns where it can be easy to lock the inside wheel. You have to get into a rhythm around the circuit and try not to compromise any corners as that hampers you for next the turn.”
The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade).
Raikkonen clocked the first time, a slow 1:20.666, because Norris soon was down to a 1:13.312 followed by a 1:12.312 and a 1:11.938.
Most of the drivers, however, were in the garages as the session approached the 20-minute mark. In fact, the only other runner was Ricciardo who posted a 1:10.139 on the super soft tires. He would have to take a five-place grid penalty because his car had a new turbo.
The track started to get busy as the one-third mark of FP1 closed in. And Raikkonen shaved 0.053 of a second off of Ricciardo’s best. Bottas beat that with his 1:09.939. And Verstappen topped that with his 1:09.506. Hamilton, on the super softs, went even faster at 1:09.423.
“I have a lot of understeer,” Hamilton radioed.
At the 40-minute break, when the drivers must return a set of tires to Pirelli, the top ten were: Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Vettel, Raikkonen, Magnussen, Grosjean, Leclerc and Ocon.
When the action resumed, Bottas remained in the garage as the Mercedes mechanics investigated an oil leak on his car. The Ferrari mechanics were also hard at work on Raikkonen’s car.
Hamilton had a new set of Pirelli super soft slicks on his car as he trimmed his fastest time down to a 1:09.107. only to have Verstappen, also on new supers, answer with a faster 1:09.011.
Vettel also tried new tires and moved into second, 0.049 of a second slower than Verstappen. As in the previous two races, Ferrari had tried out its new floor during the session only to revert to the old floor.
The Mexican Grand Prix winner stayed on top as the first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix wound down. The top ten were: Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Bottas, Grosjean, Magnussen, Leclerc and Ocon.
via Grandprix.com News Feed https://www.grandprix.com
November 9, 2018 at 04:44PM