Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Brazil

Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Brazil

Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Brazil

Relishing the ability to pile the pressure onto his fellow drivers, Hamilton shows no sign of letting up as he posted the fastest lap in the first practice session during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

This kept him top until he emerged for a second run on the same set of softs, and as Hamilton moved to within 0.072s of the benchmark, Bottas improved to 1m09.941s.

Valtteri Bottas rounded off the top two on a weekend Mercedes, having already wrapped up both championships with two races to spare, is testing 2018 concept parts.

"Unfortunately the tyres don't last very long so you only get one or two laps on the short runs".

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Hamilton's earlier quickest lap in the morning was in 1:09.202, a clear margin faster than the qualifying lap record of 1:09.822 set in 2004 by Rubens Barrichello of Ferrari.

Hamilton, who accused Renault's Nico Hulkenberg over the radio of risky driving in forcing him wide onto the runoff in the morning, was half a second faster than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen before lunch.

A year ago he made an emotional exit only to return when Bottas moved to Mercedes from Williams to replace the retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who was fifth fastest, will have a drop of at least 10 grid places due to power unit changes while New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley and Toro Rosso teammate Pierre Gasly will also pick up engine penalties.

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The Finn was the best of the non-Mercedes rest, with Red Bull's Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen fourth on the timesheets on a sunny morning in Sao Paulo.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who had an early spin, was sixth and fourth respectively.

"I don't think they are going to ask", Hamilton said when asked if he would follow team orders to allow Bottas to pass. "Both of them are a bit ahead of us, but I think it is very close between us and Red Bull".

Hamilton has won nine times this year, including five of the last seven, and can still equal the career best of 11 in a season he achieved in 2014.

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"I don't know the track so for me it was really important to get some running", said Gasly before both went out in the afternoon.

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