With rain falling over Sao Paulo over night, the host to the final performance of the season – Interlagos – was greasy and slippery for the opening practice session of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Because of the track conditions, several drivers did not complete a flying lap in the morning, among those being championship defender Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella of Renault. With Lewis Hamilton only managing the fifth quickest lap, it was Ferrari who were left to dominate the morning session, Kimi Raikkonen getting the better of Felipe Massa. Later on in the day the roles were reversed and with a clearer track, McLaren got straight down to business going first and second with Alonso getting the better of Hamilton.
Williams performed well with Nico Rosberg assuming the definite team leader role with his new team mate. Rosberg went fourth in the morning and seventh after lunch. In the second car, Kazuki Nakajima impressed on his debut, finishing in sixteenth before improving to eighth after the midday break. Also performing well were the Toyota’s and Red Bull quartet. Ralf Schumacher drove well in the difficult conditions to finish in sixth, but then declined to eleventh. Jarno Trulli mirrored the pace of his team mate, going ninth and sixteenth in the two sessions.
Red Bull managed a strong start to the final weekend of the year with Mark Webber getting to grips with the circuit with a top-ten finish in P1 and Coulthard in P2. David Coulthard completed the last Friday running of the year with thirteenth and ninth respectively. Also continuing their progress were second Red Bull team Scuderia Toro Rosso. The team have been steadily improving through the second half of the season, and todays running emphasised their competitiveness. Sebastian Vettel got the better of his team mate in the first run, claiming seventh as his, but dropping ten places in the second. Vitantonio Liuzzi also did well in the sister car, finishing in tenth before the break, and fifteenth after.
Helping to prop up the timing sheets in the first half were both BMW drivers, failing to complete a timed lap. After lunch though, Robert Kubica went sixth and Heidfeld did his best to get into tenth.
Unfortunately for Hamilton though, he is currently under investigation for using more than one set of wet weather tyres during the practice sessions. Along with Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, Lewis and team are ruing a silly error at such a crucial stage of the championship. Each driver has been called to the stewards office individually and a verdict will be known shortly as to whether a penalty will be handed to any of the drivers.
Update: Lewis received just a fine. No grid penalty. It was a hefty fine, but really not that much for him – I’m sure McLaren will pick it up anyway.
Free Practice One Times
|7.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m21.598s|
|8.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m22.104s|
|10.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m22.250s|
|13.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m22.667s|
|14.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m22.929s|
|17.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m23.551s|
|19.||Nick Heidfeld||BMW||No Time Set|
|20.||Robert Kubica||BMW||No Time Set|
|21.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||No Time Set|
|22.||Giancarlo Fisichella||Renault||No Time Set|
Free Practice Two Times
|9.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m13.706s|
|15.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m14.152s|
|17.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m14.409s|
|18.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m14.431s|
|19.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m14.477s|
|20.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m14.543s|