Max Verstappen topped a close-fought first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix after edging out Formula 1 rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton by less than one-tenth of a second on Friday morning at Interlagos.

Two weeks on from his Mexican Grand Prix victory, Verstappen found himself at the top of the timesheets once again in FP1 at Interlagos after setting a fastest lap time of 1m09.011s on the Supersoft tyre.

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Verstappen’s lap saw him finish 0.049 seconds clear of Ferrari driver Vettel in second place, who rose up the order after a late run on Supersofts. Lewis Hamilton followed in P3 for Mercedes, 0.096 seconds shy of Verstappen’s benchmark.

The session saw Red Bull deliver a pace Verstappen was sceptical of seeing on Thursday, with teammate Daniel Ricciardo finishing just three-tenths of a second back in fourth place.

Kimi Raikkonen took fifth for Ferrari, half a second back from Verstappen at the front, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finished sixth despite losing track time due to a suspected oil leak. 

Haas enjoyed a solid opening practice in Brazil as Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen took seventh and eighth place respectively. Charles Leclerc took P9 for Sauber, while Esteban Ocon completed the top 10 for Force India.

Renault drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg were on the fringes on the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively, while Sauber FP1 stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi ended the session in 13th place ahead of Williams’ Lance Stroll.

Pierre Gasly recovered from an early steering issue on his Toro Rosso car to finish the session 15th ahead of Lando Norris, who continued his preparation for his F1 debut next year with another FP1 outing for McLaren in place of Fernando Alonso. Norris finished the session four-tenths of a second clear of McLaren regular Stoffel Vandoorne, who took P19.

Sergey Sirotkin finished 17th for Williams ahead of Brendon Hartley in the second Toro Rosso, while Nicholas Latifi propped up the standings in P20 behind Vandoorne.

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