Hamilton fastest in Brazilian practice

Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:58pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton reminded Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg that he will not hand over his Formula One title without a fight after dominating Friday practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Briton, 19 points behind the German with two races remaining, was fastest in both sessions at a hot and sunny Interlagos with his best lap of one minute 11.895 seconds set on soft compound tyres in the morning.

Rosberg was third, and 0.230 off the pace in that session, but ended the day second on the afternoon timesheets and just 0.030 slower.

"It's been a good day. We got through all of our run programs and the car is feeling really good," Hamilton, who is seeking his third win in a row, told reporters.

"It's pretty tough out here physically right now with the heat as high as it is...finding the right balance isn't easy either in these conditions as the tyres are getting really hot."

Red Bull's Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was second in the morning but sixth after lunch, when the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and home favorite Felipe Massa were Mercedes' closest rivals.

Rosberg, who described his day as a "pretty normal Friday", can clinch his first championship title if he wins on Sunday, wherever Hamilton finishes.

"Our car looks quick but Red Bull are definitely close. The soft tyre is degrading quite a lot on the long runs, with blistering on the rears," the German said.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 11/11/2016 -  Mercedes' Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain in action during the first practice session.  REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker