Brazilian F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Valtteri Bottas Fastest in FP2

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2018

Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas powers his car, during the first free practice session of the Brazil Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 9, 2018. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)
EVARISTO SA/Getty Images

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas topped the standings in second practice at the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday. 

The Finn's marker of one minute, 8.856 seconds saw him ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just three-thousandths of a second. Hamilton was confirmed as the 2018 world champion a fortnight ago.

Earlier in the day, it was Max Verstappen on top for Red Bull in first practice, continuing his fine form after winning the Mexican Grand Prix.

On Saturday, the drivers will be back for final practice and qualifying ahead of Sunday's race, which is the penultimate one of the campaign. Here is a look back at the day's action from this famous Sao Paolo circuit.

   

FP2 Recap

The F1 Twitter account posted the results from second practice:

While the earlier session was relatively incident-free, there was a big smash to start the later one, as Nico Hulkenberg put his Renault into the wall and prompted red flags around the circuit.

The incident not only left Hulkenberg's car in a bad way but brought a premature end to the session for him:

With long runs anticipated later in FP2, the drivers pumped in some quicker laps at the start of the 90-minute slot and there were encouraging signs for the Silver Arrows ahead of the business end of the grand prix.

Bottas was able to improve on his performance in FP1 by putting in the quickest time of the day, with Hamilton behind him by the narrowest of margins. 

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was the only man to get within striking distance of the two Mercedes drivers in the afternoon. However, when the focus turned to the longer stints after the initial flurry of pace, there were some concerns for Ferrari:

Meanwhile, Gianluca D'Alessandro broke down the time differences the respective drivers can expect from their tyres:

There were some small specks of rain on track on Friday, but nothing too disruptive. However, there are some showers forecast for Saturday when the drivers are scheduled to be out for qualifying.

   

FP1 Recap

These are the standings from the first runs of the day in Brazil:

The Pirelli Motorsport Twitter account suggested the afternoon runs may provide a better indication of the true pace of the top teams:

On what is one of the shortest tracks on the F1 calendar there was no massive surprise to see so little between the most high-profile drivers to start off.

Following his win at Mexico a fortnight ago, Verstappen was back into the groove quickly at Interlagos. His time of 1:09.011 would prove to be a benchmark the rest of the field was unable to match in FP1.

Meanwhile, his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session in fourth spot, made it clear he was keen to get his race weekend underway after he failed to finish in Mexico:

However, there was a major blemish on his day, as he was slapped with a five-place grid penalty after a new turbocharger was fitted to his engine, per Matt Morlidge of Sky Sports.

While Verstappen was the quickest of all the drivers in FP1, there wasn't much between he nor the fastest Mercedes and Ferrari representatives.

Vettel was able to get closest to the Dutchman with just shy of five-hundredths of a second separating him from Verstappen. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, was exploring the outer limits of this iconic track:

Hamilton, while crowned as a five-time world champion last time out, will be keen to get more out of his Mercedes this weekend, as the team haven't been as competitive in the last two grands prix. While he was third in FP1, expect the Briton to move through the gears throughout the weekend.

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