Hamilton fastest as title-deciding weekend begins
23 November 2012 – Lewis Hamilton set the pace in a warm and dry first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Using a prototype Pirelli tyre ahead of the 2013 season, the McLaren driver led the way at Interlagos as title contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso finished second and fifth for Red Bull and Ferrari, respectively.
This was not an ordinary Friday morning session. Not only does the championship hang in the balance for the blue and red teams, but the experimental tyre compound allowed all teams a chance to garner critical data for next year’s cars, as the next testing will not take place until February and just one month before the Australian Grand Prix.
Although the São Paulo track is not ideally suited to testing - not least because of its anti-clockwise nature and height above sea level, which can mean engines lose up to 60 horsepower - Mercedes took full advantage of trialling new parts; Nico Rosberg remained on the new tyres for the majority of the session, with Michael Schumacher improving to 11th as the chequered flag flew. The team has abandoned its coandă exhaust solution for this weekend, at the end of which seven-time World Champion Schumacher will hang up his helmet for the second time after 306 Grand Prix starts.
Second practice starts at 2pm local time (GMT -2) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report