F1WEEKLY PODCAST NUMBER 609 CLARK AND NASIR TALK ABOUT THE AFTER EFFECT OF AUSTIN AND THE FINAL RACE IN BRAZIL.
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first practice for the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday, while Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel was second.
Fernando Alonso, the only driver fighting Vettel for the title, was fifth.
Hamilton, in his last race with McLaren, had a lap of 1 minute, 14.131 seconds at Interlagos, edging Vettel’s Red Bull. Vettel teammate Mark Webber was third in 1:14.198 and Jenson Button of McLaren was fourth in 1:14.217.
Alonso, who tested different wings during the morning session, clocked 1:14.392, finishing ahead of Ferrari teammate and home-crowd favorite Felipe Massa.
Vettel has a 13-point lead over Alonso and needs to finish fourth or better to become F1’s youngest three-time champion at age 25. He can also be the first to win three in a row since Michael Schumacher in 2004.
There was just a second separating the top 11 drivers in the first session. Drivers from McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari secured the top six spots.
Teams were given two sets of the prototype Pirelli tires that will be used next year, allowing them to have an idea of what to expect in their 2013 cars.
Drivers used the new tires during most of the morning session, with Hamilton complaining of overheating at times. Sauber’s Sergio Perez—who will be replacing the British driver at McLaren in 2013—said the new sets had more mid-corner grip.
Hamilton escaped a collision near the end of the practice after a Marussia car spun in front of him.
It was a hot and sunny day, but rain was expected for Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race in Sao Paulo. The second practice is later in the afternoon.
Red Bull has won the last three races in Brazil and Vettel finished second last year at Interlagos. The German driver has finished fourth or better in the last six races this year, and two-time champion Alonso hasn’t won since the German GP in July.
In addition to crowning the champion, the Brazilian GP marks the end to Schumacher’s career for the second time. F1’s most successful driver, Schumacher retired with Ferrari in 2006 and returned with Mercedes in 2010. He managed one podium finish this year.
Schumacher had the 11th fastest time in the first session on Friday.
It will be the sixth time since 2005 that the F1 season will be decided at the Brazilian GP. Alonso won both of his titles at Interlagos in 2005 and ’06.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.131s 33 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m14.140s + 0.009 35 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.198s + 0.067 34 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.217s + 0.086 31 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.392s + 0.261 28 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.716s + 0.585 29 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m14.719s + 0.588 33 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m14.738s + 0.607 34 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m15.015s + 0.884 37 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.050s + 0.919 32 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m15.114s + 0.983 36 12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.255s + 1.124 31 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.396s + 1.265 32 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m15.413s + 1.282 23 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.587s + 1.456 35 16. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m15.701s + 1.570 16 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.048s + 1.917 35 18. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m16.315s + 2.184 36 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m16.460s + 2.329 32 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m16.506s + 2.375 31 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m16.617s + 2.486 30 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m17.234s + 3.103 26 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m17.678s + 3.547 15 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m17.895s + 3.764 13