Mercedes and the Scuderia Ferrari look prepared to have a battle in the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix. Although Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen went fastest in FP1, the contenders for the constructors’ title stepped up in FP2.
Takeaways from Friday Practice
Valtteri Bottas edged his teammate, five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, by 3 thousands of a second in FP2. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third 0.073s behind Bottas. Bottas’s lap time (1:08.846) and is just five tenths slower than his pole lap in the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Both free practice sessions were in dry conditions, although many clouds were covering the circuit. The Pirelli tyre choice for this race, for dry conditions, are the white-striped medium tyre, the yellow-stripped soft tyre, and the red-striped supersoft tyre.
The main takeaways from the two practice sessions were:
- Mercedes and Ferrari look stronger than Red Bull in Brazil. Predictably, the Austrian team lost some of the performance that helped Verstappen take victory in México.
- Many drivers found issues under braking in the middle sector of the track. Tailwind was probably the main reason for that problem.
- In the race simulations, Vettel set the benchmark in terms of the fastest lap and the best pace. However, the four-time champion could not make his tyre last long enough. He experienced blistering on the right rear in both the soft and supersoft tyres.
- Hamilton and Bottas were able to be consistent with both set of tyres and the Mercedes’ rear tyres did not blister.
- Renault‘s Nico Hulkenberg forced a red flag situation at the start of FP2 after a heavy crash. The German was able to walk away, but his car sustained a lot of damage in the right-hand side. Hulkenberg lost the car on the run to the top of the hill in the third sector and his day ended after a few minutes into the session.
- Daniel Ricciardo had a good day. The Australian finished fourth in both sessions, three tenths off of the leader. However, the Red Bull driver is set to suffer grid penalties for a change of his turbocharger.
- Haas’ Romain Grosjean had a great start to his weekend. The Frenchman claimed P7 in the two events. He was the only driver outside of the top three teams able to be less than a second off the leader.
- Verstappen went fastest in FP1 but had issues with his car at the start of FP2 and his running was limited. The Dutchman finished fifth in FP2 and had 28 laps around the circuit. Verstappen was joined by Sergio Pérez as both drivers had problems to start FP2. The Mexican did not participate in FP1 and only drove his Force India for 23 laps in the afternoon.
- Haas seems to be dominating the midfield. Kevin Magnussen lined up behind his teammate, Grosjean, in P8 in the morning session. While Sauber‘s Charles Leclerc claimed P8 in the afternoon, with the Dane behind him.
- Force India, Renault, Toro Rosso, and maybe McLaren, will battle for the last spots inside the top 10 come Sunday’s race.
The Last Word
Results of FP1:
|1||33||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:09.011||16|
|4||3||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:09.395||+0.384s||23|
|10||31||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:10.361||+1.350s||34|
|15||10||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:10.934||+1.923s||30|
|18||28||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:11.176||+2.165s||32|
|20||34||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:11.493||+2.482s||34|
Results of FP2:
|4||3||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:09.164||+0.318s||44|
|5||33||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:09.339||+0.493s||28|
|10||31||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:10.159||+1.313s||45|
|11||11||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:10.320||+1.474s||23|
|12||10||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:10.330||+1.484s||44|
|19||28||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:10.734||+1.888s||46|
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