Brazil, FP1: Hamilton tops opening practice session for São Paulo GP

Ahead of Verstappen, Pérez


By Olivier Ferret

12 November 2021 - 17:39
Brazil, FP1: Hamilton tops opening (...)

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula One World Championship São Paulo Grand Prix, beating championship leader Max Verstappen by almost four tenths of a second. Sergio Pérez was third, just under a tenth of behind Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

With a Sprint Qualifying format in place this weekend, first practice represented teams’ only opportunity to find a way forward on set-up for qualifying and as a result the session was busy throughout.

Bottas was the first of the likely front runners to show and a medium-tyre 1:12.666s put him on top before he was nudged aside by Pérez’s 1m11.774s, also set on medium compound Pirelli tyres. Verstappen then moved ahead on a 1:11.484s eventually working his way down to a time of 1m10.189s as the opening 10 minutes came to a close.

There was then a brief lull in track action, with Hamilton being one of the few to put in extended running on medium tyres.

Soon after the halfway mark though the field began to emerge for qualifying simulations on soft tyres and Verstappen lowered the benchmark to 1:09.417 with a lap that included a purple second sector. Pérez slotted into P2, just 0.075s adrift of his team-mate. Bottas then took to the track and he took third place with a lap of 1:09.867s, 0.450s adrift of Verstappen.

Hamilton finally ventured out on the softs with a quarter of an hour left and initially finished 0.351s behind Verstappen with a lap of 1:09.768s. But the Briton went for another run on the same set of softs and over the course of two further attempts he stole top spot from Verstappen with a lap of 1:09.050s.

The Duhctman didn’t respond and so took second place, 0.367s behind Hamilton. Pérez ran late in the session but he finished third ahead of Bottas, who was over half a second off his team-mate’s pace.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took fifth ahead of the Ferrari cars of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, while Esteban Ocon was eighth ahead of Alpine teammate Alonso, the pair setting the best times on the medium tyres, and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll completed the top 10 order.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:09.050 31
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:09.417 22
03 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:09.492 28
04 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:09.567 30
05 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:09.880 32
06 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:10.124 31
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:10.142 32
08 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:10.145 27
09 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:10.201 26
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:10.352 27
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:10.374 33
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:10.413 28
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:10.443 31
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:10.587 31
15 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:10.610 27
16 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:10.885 27
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:10.902 23
18 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:10.938 24
19 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:10.990 25
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:11.342 28

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