Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Hamilton shows the way on opening day in Brazil

Hamilton shows the way on opening day in Brazil

Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, of Finland, steers his auto during the first free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

In a twist of intra-team irony however, Bottas may require some cooperation from Hamilton in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his vehicle during the first free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, of Finland, steers his vehicle during the first free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

Lewis Hamilton, with four world championship stars freshly painted on his race helmet, smashed the Interlagos track record as Mercedes dominated Brazilian Grand Prix practice on Friday.

Hamilton's words add more pressure to the battle for second, with Vettel knowing he has to be on top of his game to win, because there is always the threat the two Mercedes drivers will work together against him.

Hamilton won his fourth Formula One title two weeks ago in Mexico City.

Hamilton has declined comment on his legal case.

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Replacement drivers were in vogue in Brazil, as George Russell made his F1 debut with Force India - and posted 12th fastest time - while Antonio Giovinazzi saw his time in the second Haas moved to the afternoon session amid fears that a deluge may hit Interlagos.

Red Bull's Mexican GP victor Max Verstappen was the only driver to set a laptime in the first 10 minutes - but his initial benchmark was quickly surpassed by the soft-shod Mercedes of Bottas, the Finn ending his first run on a 1m10.102s laptime.

"The difference is 15 points and 50 points are still available, but it requires some good races in the next two weekends".

Hamilton has won nine times this year, including five of the last seven, and can still equal the career best of 11 in a season he achieved in 2014.

"Of course it's not the same as fighting for a championship, but second is always better than third".

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth fastest, though is set to be handed a 10-place grid penalty after taking on a new MGU-H, his eighth of the campaign.

Ricciardo had the third quickest time in the afternoon, and Vettel was just behind in fourth.

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