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Lewis Hamilton has opened up top ahead of this weekend's crunch Brazilian Grand Prix, leading Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen by just 0.096secs in first free practice at Interlagos.

The defending champion, who comes into this weekend's penultimate round 19 points behind Nico Rosberg in the standings, hit the front on the soft tyres with 20mins of the practice session remaining, unseating Verstappen.

The Dutchman had held the top spot for a sizeable portion of the session with the first lap to break the 1min 12secs barrier, only for Mercedes' Hamilton to nudge ahead by less than a tenth.

Championship leader Rosberg was third fastest, two tenths off the top spot, with Daniel Ricciardo himself a further two tenths behind in the second of the Red Bulls.

POINTS: The F1 World Championship standings ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix

Though almost 1.5secs from the leaders, Williams and Force India were closely matched with Valtteri Bottas fifth fastest, ahead of Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa, the latter embarking on his final Brazilian GP this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten after choosing against fitting the faster soft tyres. Even so, Vettel was the only driver to spin during the session, turning around on the exit of turn five in the closing minutes.

Outside the top ten, Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat - who suffered a puncture - followed up in 11th and 12th, ahead of the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Following the confirmation that Esteban Gutierrez will be leaving the Haas team at the end of the season, the Mexican made way for Charles Leclerc in FP1, the GP3 title contender 21st quickest.

Behind him, Sergey Sirotkin made his second FP1 appearance of the year in place of Kevin Magnussen at Renault, but managed just 10 laps before being struck by technical issues.

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