F1 – Hamilton Tops Opening Practice Session For São Paulo Grand Prix Ahead Of Verstappen, Pérez

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula One World Championship São Paulo Grand Prix, beating championship leader Max Verstappen by almost four tenths of a second. Sergio Pérez was third, just under a tenth of behind Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

With a Sprint Qualifying format in place this weekend, first practice represented teams’ only opportunity to find a way forward on set-up for qualifying and as a result the session was busy throughout.

Bottas was the first of the likely front runners to show and a medium-tyre 1:12.666s put him on top before he was nudged aside by Pérez’s 1m11.774s, also set on medium compound Pirelli tyres. Verstappen then moved ahead on a 1:11.484s eventually working his way down to a time of 1m10.189s as the opening 10 minutes came to a close.

There was then a brief lull in track action, with Hamilton being one of the few to put in extended running on medium tyres.

Soon after the halfway mark though the field began to emerge for qualifying simulations on soft tyres and Verstappen lowered the benchmark to 1:09.417 with a lap that included a purple second sector. Pérez slotted into P2, just 0.075s adrift of his team-mate. Bottas then took to the track and he took third place with a lap of 1:09.867s, 0.450s adrift of Verstappen.

Hamilton finally ventured out on the softs with a quarter of an hour left and initially finished 0.351s behind Verstappen with a lap of 1:09.768s. But the Briton went for another run on the same set of softs and over the course of two further attempts he stole top spot from Verstappen with a lap of 1:09.050s.

The Duhctman didn’t respond and so took second place, 0.367s behind Hamilton. Pérez ran late in the session but he finished third ahead of Bottas, who was over half a second off his team-mate’s pace.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took fifth ahead of the Ferrari cars of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, while Esteban Ocon was eighth ahead of Alpine teammate Alonso, the pair setting the best times on the medium tyres, and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll completed the top 10 order.


2021 FIA Formula 1 São Paulo Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:09.050 31 224.654
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:09.417 0.367 22 223.466
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:09.492 0.442 28 223.225
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:09.567 0.517 30 222.985
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:09.880 0.830 32 221.986
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:10.124 1.074 31 221.213
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:10.142 1.092 32 221.157
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:10.145 1.095 27 221.147
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:10.201 1.151 26 220.971
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:10.352 1.302 27 220.496
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:10.374 1.324 33 220.427
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:10.413 1.363 28 220.305
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:10.443 1.393 31 220.212
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:10.587 1.537 31 219.762
15 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:10.610 1.560 27 219.691
16 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:10.885 1.835 27 218.838
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:10.902 1.852 23 218.786
18 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:10.938 1.888 24 218.675
19 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:10.990 1.940 25 218.515
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:11.342 2.292 28 217.437

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