MX23RW : Wednesday, August 4 00:39:42| >> :600:231103:231103:

Lewis Hamilton fifth fastest in Brazilian GP practice

Lewis Hamilton fifth fastest in Brazilian GP practice
© Reuters
The Briton has already wrapped up the world title.

Lewis Hamilton finished only fifth as Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari one-two in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

After the opening track session at Interlagos took place in damp conditions – with Red Bull's Alex Albon setting the pace before crashing out – Ferrari held the advantage in the dry.

Vettel finished just 0.021 seconds clear of his team-mate Charles Leclerc, who will serve a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday's race following an engine change, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen third and Valtteri Bottas fourth for Mercedes.

Hamilton, who closed out his sixth world championship in Texas a fortnight ago, ended the running 0.223secs adrift of Vettel.

Ferrari were off the pace in Austin as Leclerc finished a distant fourth, almost one minute behind race victor Bottas, while Vettel failed to get to the chequered flag following a rear suspension failure.

But the Scuderia, who have largely boasted the grid's speediest package since the summer break, appear to be in a strong position heading into the remainder of the weekend at the penultimate round of the campaign.

Hamilton may have already wrapped up the title that moved him to within one of Michael Schumacher's record collection of seven.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fifth place in practice
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fifth place in practice (Nelson Antoine/AP).

But the Englishman, 34, will be keen to end his latest world championship-winning campaign in good form as he bids to match Schumacher's tally in 2020.

Albon fell foul to the tricky conditions in the first running, crashing out at the final long-sweeping left hander to the start-finish line and damaging his Red Bull.

He was able to participate in the day's concluding action, but finished only ninth, one second off Vettel's pace.

Robert Kubica, the Pole who will depart the sport for good at the year's final round in Abu Dhabi following a heroic yet disappointing comeback, was rested for the first session, with Williams reserve driver Nicholas Latifi taking his place.

Kubica returned for second practice, but crashed out on his very first flying lap, losing control of his Williams through the Senna Esses before ending up in the wall.

The running was red-flagged as Kubica's stricken Williams was recovered. He would play no further part.

The red flags were deployed for a second time with five minutes left when Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat fell off the track in a carbon-copy accident to Albon.

Elsewhere, Kevin Magnussen finished sixth for Haas, one spot ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo.

British 20-year-old Lando Norris ended up a disappointing 18th, eight places behind his McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz. George Russell adopted his customary 19th position, in a season to forget for the once-mighty Williams team.

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Lewis Hamilton (44) of Great Britain celebrates winning his sixth world championship after the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas on November 3, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States24282173
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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