After yesterday's qualifying, which decided the starting grid for tonight's Sprint Race, in a battle to the death between Verstappen and Hamilton, (the Sprint Race, in the new format, is basically the same as a qualification for Sunday's race, with the assignment of points for the first three classified), the second free practice session took place today.
Fernando Alonso set the best lap time in 1:11.238, Max Verstappen conquered the second position and Bottas arrived 3rd.
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest on the track at Interlagos on Friday with his Mercedes, but today everyone focused more on the race pace: inevitable with this format, with just two free practice sessions.
Despite the speed, the British will have to deal with a penalty on Sunday: having changed the fifth engine on the W12 number 44, Hamilton will take a penalty of 5 positions on the grid at the end of the Sprint Qualifying this evening, that he might start in last position.
Rumors has it that Lewis Hamilton's DRS, yesterday, was found not to be in accordance with the technical regulations, and even if Mercedes and the contested wing has been under the Federation control all night, there are still no certain answers.
15:57 - The sky is clear in Interlagos, almost 20 degrees warm up the Brazilian track.
16:01 - Green Light. Lance Stroll with his Aston Martin is the first to hit the track with medium tyres, while for now Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren remain in the pits.
16:07 - Only four drivers set a lap time so far:
1 Kimi Raikkonen - Alfa Romeo Racing 1:14.604
2 Antonio Giovinazzi - Alfa Romeo Racing +0.284
3 Nikita Mazepin - Haas F1 Team +1.543
4 Mick Schumacher - Haas F1 Team +1.601
16:12 - Verstappen finally on track with soft tyres, Ferrari in the meantime does not seem to go very fast, probably full of fuel. Perez is first with a time of 1:13.219
16:22 - Lewis Hamilton is preparing now to get in the car, his box is flooded with cameras, while Verstappen sets the best lap time in 1:12.102.
16:32 – Hamilton is now in 13th position, with a car full of fuel. Different strategies for him and Verstappen so far. Bottas is 8th, but he’s complaining about an excessive overheating of the tyres. Esteban Ocon, in his Alpine, sets a good lap time and is now second behind Verstappen.
16:38 - 20 laps for Leclerc with soft tyres, 25 for Sainz with mediums. Ferrari is evaluating the performance of the car with compounds that are now worn. Everyone is focusing on the race pace: inevitable with this format, with just 2 free practice sessions.
16:40 - Alonso sets the best lap time in 1:11.238 with used soft tyres (3 laps) and takes the lead. Mercedes informes Hamilton not to worry about Red Bull and Alpine lap times, because they are working on different levels.
16:50 - Sainz and Leclerc are now working in view of the Sprint Qualifying, reaching the 6th and the 7th position.
17:00 - End of the session. Verstappen closes in second place, while Bottas and Hamilton are 3rd and 5th.