Carlos Sainz fastest in sole Brazilian GP practice session ahead of qualifying

The session was the only opportunity for the teams to get to grips with Interlagos ahead of qualifying for the grand prix.

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Carlos Sainz topped the timing charts for Ferrari in the only practice session at Interlagos ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian GP, with a time of 1:11.732.

With just one session for the teams to set up their cars in the Sprint weekend format in Sao Paolo, many opted to practice race runs for the majority of the hour, with only a few runs on the soft tyres giving a glimpse into absolute performance.

Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc was second overall, one tenth back on the Spaniard, with George Russell third for Mercedes despite only running on the medium tyres.

Neither Red Bull drivers or the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton, back in 12th, and Russell completed soft tyre runs in the session, leaving a number of unknowns ahead of the grand prix qualifying session.

With that dynamic, Nico Hulkenberg was fourth overall, ahead of the Williams of Alex Albon and the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll.

Pierre Gasly was seventh, four tenths of the Ferrari up top, with Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, and Kevin Magnussen rounding out the top 10.

Max Verstappen was down in 16th as Red Bull stuck to running on the hard tyres, with Sergio Perez in 18th.

Near miss

There was one tricky moment between the Lando Norris and Hulkenberg, with the McLaren on a flying lap closing fast on the slow-moving Haas, and the two clashing wheels briefly in an incident referred to the stewards for review after the session.

On the timing charts Norris was back in 19th while Oscar Piastri was last in 20th. However, the put up purple in the first and second sectors in the middle part of the session before abandoning the lap, suggesting McLaren have significant pace in hand.

Daniel Ricciardo struggled with a floor issue that prevented him from getting as much running in as he would have liked on only his fifth race back following a hand injury, with the AlphaTauri back in 14th just behind teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

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