Lewis Hamilton top in Brazilian GP first practice

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates first practice
Brazilian Grand Prix
Venue: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace Dates: 13-15 November
Coverage: Live TV, radio and text coverage of the race. Full coverage details.

Lewis Hamilton put what he described as "a difficult week" behind him to set a scintillating pace in first practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

He crashed his supercar in Monaco in the early hours of Tuesday and delayed his arrival in Brazil after a fever.

And he appeared below par during his media appearances on Thursday.

But the world champion was 0.519 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third, a further 0.106secs back.

Hamilton, who has said he is determined to win his first Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, posted a statement of intent with his very first flying lap of the session at Sao Paulo's Interlagos track.

Rosberg set two consecutive laps in one minute 15.940 seconds and then 1:15.564, only for Hamilton to post a 1:15.102 on his very first flying lap.

Prior to the start of practice, Lewis Hamilton attracted more than his usual amount of media attention, after revealing he was in a minor car accident in Monaco on Monday night
Before practice, Lewis Hamilton was in high demand from the media, after revealing he was in a minor car accident in Monaco on Monday night

Later in the session Rosberg lowered his time to a 1:140.062, before Hamilton, who ran wide at Turn One after losing a front brake, produced his stunning 1:13.543.

He and Mercedes have been coy about what happened in the Monaco accident.

Hamilton initially was barred from discussing it, only to then tell British newspaper journalists that it was the "result of heavy partying and not much rest for 10 days".

The Englishman had a busy schedule following the Mexican Grand Prix and then celebrated his mother's 60th birthday in London on Saturday night before returning to Monaco.

"I am a bit run down," Hamilton said. "I have been non-stop and trying to fit training in at the same time and not getting a lot of sleep."

He has not explained why, if he was run down and lacking sleep, he was driving around the roads of the Monaco race track at three o'clock in the morning, nor said who was in the car with him.

Crowd 'gives more horsepower' - Massa

Despite the difficulties, Hamilton has come to Brazil determined to end Rosberg's run of four consecutive pole positions and to win this race for the first time.

Behind Vettel, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, using an upgraded version of the Renault engine, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who had a big spin after locking a wheel at Turn Four.

Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat was sixth, ahead of Williams' Valtteri Bottas and Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen.

Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, who is moving up to a race drive in 2016, was 12th fastest, just ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, who was three places but only 0.034secs quicker than team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Full practice results

Brazilian GP coverage details

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC