A largely uneventful practice session in São Paulo saw Lewis Hamilton top the time sheets for the opening session of the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen splitting the two Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team cars with Nico Rosberg finishing third.
Valterri Bottas started the session as the first car out on track along with Sebastian Vettel, while four drivers run the halo safety device – Jolyon Palmer, Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson and Nico Hulkenberg.
Hamilton started the session with aero sensors on the car and wasn’t setting representative times during the early stages as the team gathered valuable information.
Pascal Wehrlein struggled in the opening 20 minutes with his brakes as he discussed the issue with the team over the radio, suggesting that he was being pulled to the left under braking. Grosjean suffered from a power issue that the Haas F1 Team would look in to.
Red Bull Racing left it late to set a time, shortly before Sergey Sirotkin lost power in his Renault Sport Formula 1 Team car in the final corner, “Something happened, something happened!” exclaimed the Russian over the radio before limping back to the garage for the team to investigate.
Jenson Button continued to struggle with the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team car as he reported “We’re so far out with the balance now” as he languished in eleventh place.
Verstappen was the first of the frontrunners to fit a set of soft tyres which would see the times cascade down, setting a time of 1m 11.991s, 1.1 seconds ahead of the field. Rosberg tried to match the pace but could only get within 0.134 seconds of the Red Bull.
There was drama for Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat as he suffered a puncture on the right rear of the car, the Russian would make it back to the pits but at the loss of a set of tyres.
With thirteen minutes remaining on the clock, Felipe Nasr radioed the Sauber F1 team to tell them of an issue, “There is something wrong with the clutch” he reported before the team replied “Ok, we are checking data.”
Charles Leclerc got more track time in the Haas car and was looking to push on with his practice run when he came across the Williams of Valterri Bottas, a quick conversation on the radio for permission to overtake and he was on his way again.
Vettel suffered a late drama when he spun at Turn 11, thankfully for the former world champion, a flat spotted set of tyres would be the worst of his worries.
As the chequered flag flew Grosjean was on the radio again, this time he admitted to being lost with the car set up as he finished the session in fifteenth place.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:11.991|
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:12.371|
|6||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.289|
|7||27||Nicolas Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.293|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:13.711|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:14.090|