Lewis Hamilton fastest in Brazilian GP final practice

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Interlagos
Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton's best finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix is second
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 set the pace in final practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix despite an earlier spin.

The world champion was 0.123 seconds clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg as Mercedes dominated.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in third place was 0.690secs behind Hamilton and ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas took fifth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Force India and Romain Grosjean's Lotus. Jenson Button was 18th in the McLaren.

Hamilton and Rosberg
Hamilton and Rosberg have shared fastest times across the three practice sessions

Button complained of a difficult balance and front brake locking as he lagged four places and 0.595secs adrift of team-mate Fernando Alonso.

The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were down in 11th and 13th places as Ricciardo committed to running an upgraded Renault engine that has earned him a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding the permitted number of engines.

Mercedes in a league of their own

Mercedes finished one-two in this race last year, more than 30 seconds clear of the third-placed car, and their advantage appears of a similar scale so far this weekend.

Hamilton and Rosberg topped a session each on Friday, but the world champion was the man back in front on Saturday morning under blue skies after heavy overnight rain.

Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel finished in third in final practice with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen behind him in fourth

On whichever tyre, and whether in qualifying or race trim, the Mercedes appear imperious.

Hamilton arrived in Brazil determined to end a run off four consecutive pole positions by Rosberg and so far at least appears on target to do so.

Hamilton had a difficult session, stopping on track on his first lap out of the pits with a gearbox glitch and then having a spin at the fast, downhill Mergulho corner towards the end of his time on the slower 'medium' tyres.

But it did not affect his pace on the faster 'soft' on the qualifying simulation runs at the end of the session.

Ferrari best of the rest

Vettel's target for the remainder of the season is to beat Rosberg to second in the championship, but that looks ambitious at the moment.

Ferrari are comfortably the second fastest team, but Vettel's hopes of challenging the Mercedes appear slim given the margin between the cars on one of the shortest circuits on the calendar.

Brazilian GP: Inside F1 looks back at Friday practice

As has become the norm, however, he was comfortably clear of Raikkonen, the margin between the two Ferraris a significant 0.336secs.

Close fight behind

Less than 0.3secs separated Bottas in fifth from Ricciardo in 11th, and there will be a tight fight for the midfield positions.

At the back of them, McLaren appear in better shape than for a while - agonisingly close but probably not quite close enough to get in the midfield mix.

Alonso's time was only just over 0.5secs off that of Bottas.

Full practice results

Brazilian GP coverage details

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