Formula 1

Business as usual as Hamilton tops first practice in Brazil

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Lewis Hamilton got back to business as he put a bad week behind him to top the timesheets in Brazil for the first practice session of the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Brit set a time of 1:13.543s to lead Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.519s with Sebastian Vettel in third place another 0.106s seconds back.

Hamilton is chasing an illusive victory in Brazil having already raced in Sao Paulo eight times, he told BBC sport “It took a long time for Ayrton to win here – it took him eight years before he managed it. This is my ninth attempt, so hopefully I can finally get it done this weekend.”

Rosberg was looking promising early in the session as he posted two consecutive lap times of 1:15.940s and then 1:15.564s, this was before Hamilton blitzed the times with a lap of 1:15.102s around the Sao Paulo circuit. As the session progressed Rosberg lowered the bar to 1:14.062s before Hamilton fired back with an impressive time of 1:13.543s.

With Vettel setting the fastest time for the ‘best of the rest’ there was some promise from Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo set fourth fastest time with an upgraded version of the Renault engine ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who spun off track at Turn Four as the result of a lock-up.

Daniil Kvyat took his Red Bull to sixth place ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top 10, with Carlos Sainz Jr squeezing in front of Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer who finished just 0.160 seconds off the pace of his experienced team-mate.

Following the session Palmer told Sky Sports F1 “It is an awesome track. There are a lot of blind corners and walking around it yesterday was an eye-opener as I have never raced here before. It is really good to drive though, hot work and the tyres were dying quite quickly but it was great. I was trying the new front-wing spec in this session and that is what FP1 is all about, learning and trying to improve.”

McLaren continue to suffer as Jenson Button finished thirteenth place with team-mate Fernando Alonso in sixteenth. The Spaniard admitted to media before the race that his motivation has suffered as a result of the bad for from the McLaren team.

Felipe Nasr took the honours of highest placed Brazilian driver as he finished in fourteenth place ahead of Sergio Perez.

Local hero Felipe Massa suffered with grip issues and could only manage a time to finish a lowly seventeenth place, just ahead of Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson.

At the back of the field Alexander Rossi out-paced his Manor team-mate Will Stevens by 0.230s on his final weekend of Formula 1 this year.

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