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F1 | Sao Paulo GP | Lewis Hamilton leads the way in FP1 but faces five-place grid penalty for ICE change

At the second race of the last triple header for the 2021 season, F1 packs up and heads to Brazil in a new weekend of race action where Lewis Hamilton topped the table at the first Friday session.

( palabras)
F1 | Sao Paulo GP | Lewis Hamilton leads the way in FP1 but faces five-place grid penalty for ICE change
Fuente imagen: @MercedesAMGF1 on Twitter.

The F1 circus faces Brazil and the mythic circuit of Interlagos for another round of an epic championship battle as FP1 sets up the scenario for a new version of the qualifying race sprint format, with Hamilton setting the bar before qualifying, his fastest time of 1:09.050.

During the session, it was confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will take a grid penalty after the Mercedes modifications of the ICE to the world champion's challenger. He'll start Sunday's race five places lower than his final Sprint Race position.

1:11.482 was the fastest lap clocked in the very first run of practice, set by Max Verstappen. Even though the championship leader was reporting strong vibrations, he proceeded to mark his second attempt of 1:10.853, 0.6s ahead of Valtteri Bottas, as the Dutchman continued to clock faster laps by 0.6s each time.

A cloudy Sao Paulo sky witnessed how Lewis Hamilton struggled to run comfortably since the Briton reported the front end of his car was "really poor". Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to announce rain at the Interlagos track.

20 minutes into the session an impressive Ocon and Aston Martin pair sat comfortably inside the top 10, with the French driver marking the fourth fastest time, as Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll filled the 6th and 7th spots. Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10 when no driver had made use of the softest Pirelli compound.

When the session reached the 30 minutes mark, both Ferrari drivers fastened their belts and went straight up the table to sit 2nd and 4th, as Charles Leclerc set a lap only 0.002s behind Max Verstappen's lead, just before the Red Bull drivers went 0.8s faster, at a time when rain seemed to disappear from the circuit.

After great results and good performances in both the US and the Mexican Grand Prix, Sergio Pérez looks out to keep his form and continuously clocked laps within a 0.01 margin of his teammate.

Max Verstappen dominated the practice topping the table most of the session time, even though the Dutchman was the driver lapping the fewest times out of the 20, with 22.

With 10 minutes to go, Lewis Hamilton lapped fastest after having solved the front suspension issue that kept him from pushing to the limit the first part of the session. The world champion set a time of 1:09.050s running with the red tyres.

Six teams completed the top 10 at the end of the first practice of the weekend in Brazil. Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Alpine with their two cars as Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly completed the upper half of the timesheet.

Action is set to resume at 4:00 p.m. local time for the usual format of qualifying which will set the starting grid for tomorrow’s sprint race.

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