Drivers complained about the grip throughout.

Given that this is a Sprint Race weekend at Brazil GP, the first Free Practice session held greater importance as the teams and drivers had only 60 minutes to get into the groove for the qualifying session. Those 60 minutes produced really close time intervals between the front-running cars.

Sergio Perez took the first spot by setting the time of 1:11.853s. He was the first driver to hope in for softs after the initial stints with Hards. During the Medium and Hard compound stint, his teammate and crowned World Champion Max Verstappen led the chart by setting the time of 1:13.575s. He later switched to softs and his best time till the chequered flag remained just 0.008 seconds short of the Mexican.

Plenty of chances but no finished product

Ferrari had a long stint with yellow and grey stripes. They made a late switch to softs and in the later stages, Charles Leclerc put on a 1:11.857s lap. He split the Red Bulls to slot in P2. Carlos Sainz ended up P4, just ahead of the Mercedes cars. Following the sixth change in Internal Combustion Engine, Sainz will be facing a five-place grid penalty. This will come into effect on the Sunday race.

Lewis Hamilton couldn’t pip Sainz and remained 0.001 seconds slower than the second Ferrari. George Russell followed in sixth by setting his best time 0.015 seconds inferior to his veteran teammate. Sebastian Vettel, Mick Schumacher, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly rounded off the top ten of FP1.

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Daniel Ricciardo finishes last

There were speculations that Lando Norris won’t be able to participate in the Brazil GP. His participation in the FP1 would have cleared the clouds. He set a time of 1:12.955s which could only see him go 15th fastest. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished last as he ended up 1.5 seconds slower than the front-runners.

The Alpines had a dull session as Alonso and Ocon could only finish P11 and P13 respectively, sandwiching Williams’ Alex Albon. Stroll had a dodgy moment with Leclerc when his slow-moving Aston Martin got in the way of the Monagasque’s Ferrari. He had technical issues during the Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi, Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo remained in the bottom five at the end of the session.

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