MX23RW : Monday, January 21 12:37:36

Bottas quicker than Hamilton in practice for Brazilian Grand Prix

The Mercedes drivers were separated by three thousandths of a second.

Lewis Hamilton was beaten to top spot in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix by just three thousandths of a second as his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished fastest.

After Red Bull driver Max Verstappen led the way in the opening running at the Interlagos circuit on Friday, it was the turn of the Silver Arrows to top the time sheets in the day’s concluding session.

Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari, just 0.073 seconds slower than Bottas, with Daniel Ricciardo fourth.

Verstappen, who missed the majority of the second running with a crack in his oil tank, finished fifth, half-a-second off the pace.

Hamilton, sporting a new crash helmet here to incorporate a fifth star celebrating his latest title triumph, has failed to win a race after clinching the championship with rounds to spare.

In 2015, Nico Rosberg won the last three grands prix of the season, before Vettel and Bottas claimed a win each last year.

But the British driver is keen to add to his tally of just one victory at the home of his boyhood hero, Ayrton Senna, and would appear to be among the contenders with Mercedes seemingly back on song after their recent dip in form.

The Silver Arrows will seal their fifth consecutive constructors’ championship on Sunday if Ferrari fail to outscore them by 13 points, a feat the Italians have managed just twice this year.

Bottas, on pole position last year in Brazil, is also searching for his first win of the campaign.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg crashed out of the second session after he lost control of his car on the exit of the high-speed final corner and hit the wall.

The German sustained severe damage to the right-hand side of his Renault, and the red flags were issued as the marshals recovered his stricken machine.

Earlier on Friday, British teenager Lando Norris replaced Fernando Alonso as he continues his preparation ahead of his full debut next year.

Norris finished 16th, four tenths of a second quicker than Stoffel Vandoorne in the sister McLaren.

Norris has now finished faster than Vandoorne in all four practice sessions that they have taken part in together this season. ends


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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