Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton ended day one of the Brazilian Grand Prix as the fastest driver ending the on track action with a fastest time of 01.12.271s with tram mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg in second place.
Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa who, in honor of his last Brazilian Grand Prix is carrying a special tribute on his car ended the day in fourth place just behind team Valtteri Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest for Red Bull Racing and speaking following the session the Australian commented by saying:
Today it was really hot and you could feel the tyres were having a hard time, and it means we were not as quick as we’d like. On the long run today I didn’t feel we were that strong towards the end of it but I feel that once the track cools it’s going to be completely different. We are a bit closer to Mercedes than we probably expected, and there’s still a bit more to come from the car, but to really have a chance to win then I think we need some rain to help us. The rain would be fun just to change it up a little bit but even if it’s just cooler tomorrow and on Sunday as forecast it will be better on the tyres. Of course we will try and improve what we have done today but I think tomorrow will be another story.
Max Verstappen was sixth fastest and speaking following the day of track action he commented by saying:
First practice was really good this morning, we then made some changes for second practice which meant my short run pace wasn’t fantastic, along with the increase in track temperature. We went back on some of those changes and the long run in FP2 looked quite positive. I think we are happy with the pace over that distance, we just need to make some modifications for tomorrow to get the short distance pace back. Using both the soft and medium compound today meant we got a good understanding of how they will react around here, no real surprises to be honest. Mercedes are still too far ahead in my opinion but after them we are up there and competitive. I am hoping it will rain on Sunday as this will close the gap, give us a good shot at winning and add to the excitement. If conditions are like this then it will be a bit tougher for us to be up front.
The Ferrari pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen struggled on Friday with Vettel ending the day in seventh place while Raikkonen was eighth.
Speaking following the session, Vettel commented by saying:
I think it was a tricky day. The track was very slippery, the temperature hot, and I think everybody was struggling with the tires. It was a bit difficult to find the rhythm. The long run was a bit better for us: I haven’t seen what the others were doing, but I felt a bit more confident with more time and more laps in the car. So in total we tried a lot of things, and now we need to go and see what actually was best. Towards the end of the day it seemed to calm down a bit more, finding the rhythm, which wasn’t the case for the short run, for the fast lap, where I wasn’t very happy. The good news today are that the gaps were very close. Mercedes for sure, as expected, is a bit up front: but other than that, if it stays like this, it bodes well for tomorrow.
The Iceman, Kimi Raikkonen commented by saying:
It was a pretty normal Friday: we tried different things to make it better for tomorrow. It was a bit tricky to find the balance, the set-up is not ideal yet, but we are going in the right direction. I only did a few laps with the Soft, it felt pretty ok and obviously it has the best grip. Unfortunately at the end of the second session we had an issue with one visor which obstructed the cooling duct: the brakes overheated and I had to stop.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was ninth fastest this afternoon having ended the morning session in 7th place and speaking after completing 75 laps for the day, the German commented by saying:
It was a good Friday – just what you want from a day like this. We had two dry sessions and collected some very useful tyre information with two long runs. The car feels ok, but there is still a lot that can be done to improve the balance overnight. It’s a good starting point. It’s still too early to know just how competitive we are, but it feels like we have the potential for a strong weekend
McLaren Honda’s Jenson Button rounded out the top ten with a fastest time of 01:13.440s ending the session just ahead of his team mate Fernando Alonso.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was 12th fastest just ahead of his team mate Carlos Sainz. Sergio Perez was 14th fastest and speaking after setting a fastest time of 01:13.918s the Mexican, commented by saying:
A very hot day, but things went to plan and I feel positive. This afternoon I didn’t get a clear lap for my first run on the soft tyres so I feel there is more potential to come. We tried a few set-up adjustments that did not really work, but we’ve learned some things which will give us a better direction for tomorrow. We expect the weather to be slightly cooler over the weekend, but I still think the work we’ve done today is representative and we just need to adjust if the track temperatures drop. Overall I feel happy with what we’ve done today and we have a good idea of where we need to improve overnight.
The Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean ended the day in 15th place just ahead of the man who will join the American team next season as his team mate, Renault Sport F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen.
The Manor F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon who, earlier this week signed for the Force India Formula One Team replacing Nico Hulkenberg ended the day in 18th place just behind the Sauber F1 Team’s Felipe Nasr.
Renault Sport F1 Team’s Jolyon Palmer who will remain with the Enstone outfit in 2017 was 19th fastest just ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.
The Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson was 21st fastest with Manor Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein rounding out the order in 22nd place.