Hamilton leads Verstappen in opening session

2016 Brazilian Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton began his Brazilian Grand Prix weekend on the right foot by leading the first practice session.

His closest competitor on the time sheets was not championship rival Nico Rosberg but Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver set the early benchmark time on soft tyres, partly aided by the slipstream from another car on the climb towards the pit straight.

Brazilian Grand Prix practice in pictures
Hamilton beat Verstappen’s time by almost a tenth of a second, leaving him just six-tenths shy of last year’s pole position time. Hamilton subsequently produced a quicker time in the first sector of the lap.

The team mates of the top two followed them on the times sheets, Rosberg just over two-tenths off his team mate. As always around the short Interlagos lap the difference in times was small.

A quartet of Mercedes-powered cars followed them, led by Valtteri Bottas with the two Force Indias separating him from team mate Felipe Massa. Neither Ferrari driver set a time on the soft tyres and the pair ended the session at the bottom of top ten. Sebastian Vettel spun at Mergulho a few minutes before the chequered flag came out.

The Toro Rosso pair came next, Carlos Sainz Jnr ahead of Daniil Kvyat. The latter was delayed by a right-rear puncture which developed at the exit of Subida do Lago. Kvyat’s quick reactions kept his car pointing the right way and he brought the car back to the pits.

Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin also had a brief session after a problem developed on his car.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.89532
233Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’11.9910.09629
36Nico RosbergMercedes1’12.1250.23026
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’12.3710.47627
577Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’13.1291.23436
611Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’13.2891.39431
727Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’13.2931.39833
819Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’13.3181.42333
95Sebastian VettelFerrari1’13.5671.67224
107Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’13.5691.67426
1155Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’13.7111.81622
1226Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’14.0902.19515
1322Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’14.2522.35727
1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’14.2962.40126
158Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’14.5072.61225
1612Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’14.6312.73621
179Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’14.6542.75923
1831Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’14.8272.93230
1930Jolyon PalmerRenault1’14.9083.01332
2094Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’14.9483.05332
2150Charles LeclercHaas-Ferrari1’15.3913.49627
2246Sergey SirotkinRenault1’15.8003.90510

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’11.895

+0.096 Max Verstappen – 1’11.991

+0.230 Nico Rosberg – 1’12.125

+0.476 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’12.371

+1.234 Valtteri Bottas – 1’13.129

+1.394 Sergio Perez – 1’13.289

+1.398 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’13.293

+1.423 Felipe Massa – 1’13.318

+1.672 Sebastian Vettel – 1’13.567

+1.674 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’13.569

+1.816 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’13.711

+2.195 Daniil Kvyat – 1’14.090

+2.357 Jenson Button – 1’14.252

+2.401 Fernando Alonso – 1’14.296

+2.612 Romain Grosjean – 1’14.507

+2.736 Felipe Nasr – 1’14.631

+2.759 Marcus Ericsson – 1’14.654

+2.932 Esteban Ocon – 1’14.827

+3.013 Jolyon Palmer – 1’14.908

+3.053 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’14.948

+3.496 Charles Leclerc – 1’15.391

+3.905 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’15.800

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Hamilton leads Verstappen in opening session”

  1. Are the mercedes’s on different setups?


    Maybe Rosberg is betting on wet weather with more downforce?

  2. Anyone notice that his helmet is noticeably more Yellow?

  3. Ferrari not looking at all sharp here. Mercedes vs Red Bull battle is ON.

    1. @chrischrill – Ferrari did all their runs on the medium (white) tyres, unlike the others who also ran softs in the last 60 minutes. See tyres used in stints here

  4. The beauty of Motorsports Manager is after every practice session there’s always some fan on social media saying “he’d be worried about that performance” and every single time I’m quietly grinning to myself knowing I’ve just spent the time perfecting the setup for the race…

    1. hey hows the game honestly?

      1. Incredibly fun, have hardly put it down, but not a full-blown simulation by any stretch of the imagination – it took a few races at least to get out of the “treat it like it’s real” mindset. There’s a real lack of team management and serious team politics, bar a few key personnel in each drivers engineer and a reserve driver, the upgrade paths are very one dimensional with little strategy involved as you’ll want/get them all eventually any way, and it’s full of mini-games like in practice with the setup adjustments and qualifying with getting the car up to temp or even just scouting for new personnel and offering contracts in general.

        Besides all that which I hope comes across of constructive criticism the rest is an absolute blast. Making the tyre and fuel(depending on series) strategies on race day is absolutely as compelling as expected. Using your second car wisely to back up the field or take a chance on the alternate long strategy makes for real compelling gameplay, and when you get that race win you’ll find yourself as happy and relieved as Totto or Christian looks after a hard fought race.

        All the graphics and gameplay options are of quality expected from a AAA title and bugs are rarely seen, beyond what may or may not be bugs in drivers asking for / complaining about incorrect strategies or setup options. The interface is also incredibly polished. I really recommend it even as an extremely frugal gamer who rarely (if ever nowadays) pays full price for a game, I was half expecting to have to refund and wait for a sale but I’m really really surprised at how high the quality is.

        Hopefully the developer will continue to update it (or provide DLC’s) over time beyond what would be assumedly possible from the workshop support release as I think it could really benefit from more in-depth systems as opposed to just content. If only F1 races were as action packed as the driver AI/scripting makes these, I don’t think declining popularity would ever be a concern.

        For a longer read be sure to check out F1Fanatic’s review, it’s pretty spot on.

  5. i bet there are a lot of Ham fans who loved MV in the mix. But don’t forget; he will go after Ham too if the weather gives him the possiblity :-)

  6. 5th is unusually high for Williams, especially in a practice session where they usually don’t show their true pace.

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