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Max Verstappen leads teammate Sergio Perez in Brazil. Horner admits errors were made by the team when applying team orders during the race (Image Credit Red Bull Content Pool, Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen leads teammate Sergio Perez in Brazil. Horner admits errors were made by the team when applying team orders during the race (Image Credit Red Bull Content Pool, Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Sao Paulo Grand Prix: F1 Free Practice 1 results

Formula 1 took to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in the first and only practice as the Sao Paulo Grand Prix hosts the final sprint race weekend of the season

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Formula One returned to the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, which saw Carlos Sainz top the timesheets as  Charles Leclerc and George Russell followed to claim second and third, respectively.

Interlagos, São Paulo, Cityscape, 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix
2014 Brazilian Grand Prix, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo (Photo by Darren Heath/Getty Images)

As Formula 1 heads into round 21 of 23 at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, this year marks the 50-year mark for Brazil since they held their first Formula 1 Grand Prix. The first official World Championship race was born in 1973, with the Brazilian fans being treated to three home wins in the first three years, with Emerson Fittipaldi taking the first two and Carlos Pace taking the win in 1975.

The final sprint race

Max Verstappen continued his dominant form last time out at the Mexico City Grand Prix, with the Dutchman claiming his 16th win of the season, which saw him equal Alain Prost on 51 race wins. However, the battle through the rest of the field remains tight, with Mercedes looking to fend off Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship for second, as McLaren continues their late-season charge.

Mercedes currently holds a 22-point gap over Ferrari. However, a second-place finish in Mexico for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wasn’t enough to increase their advantage over the Italian outfit as both teams left the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez with 27 points.

Meanwhile, George Russell will be looking to make it back-to-back wins following his maiden Formula 1 victory last time out in Brazil. But a win for Mercedes from either driver will make it three wins in a row for the German manufacturer following Hamilton’s success in 2021.

On a track where 67% of the lap is spent at full throttle, you can expect an exciting race as the Sao Paulo Grand Prix holds host to the sixth and final sprint weekend on the calendar. However, this means that the team will have very little time to get to grips with the cars and with the threat of heavy rain on the way, this could further hamper them.

Formula 1 announced on the weekend of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix that the Brazilian race will continue to appear on the Formula 1 calendar up until 2030.

 

So, let’s see what happened in Free Practice 1 at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Free Practice 1 gets underway

A queue of drivers began to form before the start of the session, all eager to maximise their time out on track. As the light turned green, two-time World Champion Max Verstappen was the first driver onto the track on a set of hard tyres. The Dutchman went straight to the top of the timesheets with a 1.13.950.

There were a few complaints on the opening laps of the session of drivers having faults with their cars as Alpine’s, Esteban Ocon, was straight on the radio complaining that a screw was in the incorrect position on his tyre. Ocon said: “There is a screw on my front tyre, it’s not upside down, but it’s sideways.” Whilst Verstappen claimed his seat was fitted incorrectly.

Both Williams stayed in the garage for the first eight minutes of the session, with Sargeant setting the first lap time for the Oxford-based team with a 1.16.001.

Carlos Sainz had to tame his Ferrari after he had a huge snap of oversteer as he accelerated out of Turn 13.

Aston Martin was the first team back in the garage to alter the suspension for both Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso as they get to grips with their new upgrades.

Nico Hulkenberg shot up the timesheet to set a 1.13.699 to put him fourth before Lewis Hamilton knocked him down to fifth. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was forced into the pits following a puncture on his lap.

Midway through

As we hit the halfway mark, Russell topped the timesheet on the medium tyre with a 1.11.865. Alonso and Verstappen followed in second and third, respectively. The Brits lap time was only a tenth of Kevin Magnussen’s pole lap from 2022, which the Danish driver set in mixed conditions.

There was contact made between Lando Norris and Hulkenberg. Norris was able to carry on for another flying lap. However, Haas brought the German back into the pits to give the car a check for any damage.

Haas were the first team out onto the soft tyre runs, with Hulkenberg being the faster of the Haas duo, setting a 1.11.928. The only other driver on the soft was Sargeant. Meanwhile, all the other drivers decided to stick with the hard and medium compounds.

Final 15 minutes

As we headed into the final 15 minutes, Drivers began to head out to do their soft tyre runs as Logan Sargeant began to complain that his Williams was unstable, claiming that his car was like “driving round on two wheels”.

Verstappen was warned of an increase in wind as the McLaren duo began their laps with both drivers setting purple sector times. However, both cars pitted before they could put the laps onto the timesheet. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg went over the kerb at Turn 5, where he stated his concerns over the radio, claiming he experienced a loss of power.

Sainz bolted on the soft tyres and completed a lap, knocking Russell off the top of the order as he put in a 1.11.732. However, the lap was only a tenth quicker than the lap time Russell had set on the medium tyre. But it wasn’t long before Charles Leclerc completed a lap to boost himself to second with a 1.12.163.

Final classification

It was a Ferrari 1-2 as Sainz set the quickest time as Russell, Hulkenberg, and Albon rounded out the top five. The top 10 was Sainz ,Leclerc, Russell, Hulkenberg, Albon, Stroll ,Gasly, Zhou, Sargeant and Magnussen, as both Red Bull and Mercedes didn’t complete any soft tyre runs.

 

 

Featured Image Credit: Image Credit Red Bull Content Pool, Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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