Motor racing-Perez fastest in Sao Paulo GP practice

Formula One F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil - November 11, 2022 Red Bull's Sergio Perez arrives ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Red Bull's Sergio Perez lapped fastest in first free practice for the Sao Paulo Formula One Grand Prix at Interlagos on Friday with the top three drivers separated by just 0.008 of a second.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was second on the timing screens, 0.004 slower than the Mexican's best time of one minute and 11.853 seconds but the Monegasque's lap was set later in the session when cars had more grip.

Double world champion Max Verstappen, Perez's team mate, was a further 0.004 adrift.

Red Bull are chasing their 10th win in a row this weekend while Verstappen is seeking a record-extending 15th win of the season. The team and Dutch driver have already won both championships.

The penultimate race weekend of the year is being run to the sprint format, with qualifying later on Friday to determine the starting grid for a 100km race on Saturday that decides the order for Sunday's main event.

Verstappen has won the previous two sprint races of the season.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was fourth fastest, 0.186 slower than Perez, but the Spaniard will have a five place grid penalty for Sunday's grand prix after exceeding his engine allowance of three by taking his sixth of the campaign.

Britain's seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who this week received honorary Brazilian citizenship, was fifth fastest for Mercedes -- only a thousandth of a second slower than Sainz -- with team mate George Russell sixth.

Hamilton, last year's winner but yet to triumph this season, complained during the hour-long session that his car felt 'floaty'.

Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, heading for retirement after the final race in Abu Dhabi, lapped seventh fastest for Aston Martin and fellow-German Mick Schumacher was eighth for Haas.

McLaren's Lando Norris, who cancelled his media engagements due to suspected food poisoning on Thursday, took part in the session and was 15th fastest.

"He seemed to be fine in the session and looked fine after... we don't expect any complications for the rest of the weekend," said team boss Andreas Seidl.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Motorsport

Motor racing-'I've never seen a car so fast', says Hamilton of Red Bull
Motor racing-Verstappen unhappy to settle for second in Saudi Arabia
Motor racing-Alonso critical of FIA after losing 100th podium
Motor racing-Perez wins in Jeddah as Verstappen goes from 15th to second
Motor racing-Even from 15th, Verstappen remains a big threat
Motor racing-Perez on pole in Saudi Arabia as Verstappen hits trouble
Motor racing-Verstappen completes practice sweep in Saudi Arabia
Motor racing-'No grouch' if Hamilton looks elsewhere in future, says Wolff
Motor racing-Alonso still as hungry as ever, says De la Rosa
Motor racing-Hamilton splits from long-term performance coach Cullen

Others Also Read