Brazilian Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap

Event:  Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 (FP1 and FP2)

Date:  Friday, Nov. 10

Location:  Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo

Layout:  4.309-kilometer (2.677-mile), 15-turn circuit

FP1 Weather:  Sunny

FP1 Air Temps:  24.5-27.2 degrees Celsius (76.1-81 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP1 Track Temps:  38.5-50 degrees Celsius (101.3-122 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Weather:  Partly cloudy

FP2 Air Temps:  29.4-31.4 degrees Celsius (84.9-88.5 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Track Temps:  42.5-54.7 degrees Celsius (108.5-130.5 degrees Fahrenheit)

Drivers:  Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi

Grosjean:  13th quick (1:11.188), 29 laps completed

Magnussen:  14th quick (1:11.463), 30 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:09.202)

Most Laps:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (43 laps)

Grosjean:  15th quick (1:11.300), 39 laps completed

Giovinazzi:  20th quick (1:12.417), 37 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:09.515)

Most Laps:  Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso (54 laps)

The penultimate round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo as teams prepared for the Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday.

Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 4.309-kilometer (2.677-mile), 15-turn track were run under mostly sunny and warm conditions, with Antonio Giovinazzi joining Haas F1 Team’s regular drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, in FP2.

With FP1 potentially being the only session of the day without the threat of rain, the decision was made to switch Giovinazzi’s planned FP1 stint to FP2, affording Magnussen valuable dry track time while ensuring Giovinazzi would get his sixth planned practice outing with Haas F1 Team.

Grosjean and Magnussen subsequently attacked the undulating circuit, logging 29 and 30 laps, respectively, in FP1. The duo ran an identical program, beginning the session on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire before switching to the grippier Red supersoft compound.

Grosjean set the 13th quickest time in FP1 with a 1:11.188 on his 14th lap. Magnussen followed in 14th with a 1:11.463, also earned on his 14th lap. Both drivers set their quick times utilizing Red supersofts.

Fastest in FP1 was the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton earned the top spot with a lap of 1:09.202, which was .127 of a second faster than Bottas and .620 of a second better than the previous track record – a 1:09.822 set by Rubens Barrichello in a Ferrari during qualifying for the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Giovinazzi, the third driver for Scuderia Ferrari, took the wheel of the Haas VF-17 in FP2. The 23-year-old from Martina Franca, Italy, ran a total of 37 laps, the best being a 1:12.417 on his 17th lap that put him 20th overall. Giovinazzi ran exclusively on the Yellow soft tire.

Grosjean ran 39 laps in FP2 with a quick time of 1:11.300 on his 24th tour that placed him 15th. Grosjean began FP2 on the Yellow soft tire and switched to Red supersofts after 18 laps. He then returned to the softs for an eight-lap drive at the end of the session.

Hamilton and Bottas continued to lead the way in FP2. Hamilton’s fast lap of 1:09.515 was .048 of a second better than second-best Bottas.

Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 135 laps – 68 by Grosjean, 30 by Magnussen and 37 by Giovinazzi.

“It was a decent Friday. We got a lot of mileage and we tried a few things on the car. The morning wasn’t too bad, but the afternoon we didn’t go very fast. Anyway, it was good that we had a dry Friday when everyone was thinking it would be wet. I’ve always loved driving here and did the best we could today.”

“Not too bad in FP1, but we still need to sort a few things on the systems and the balance. I had four laps on the supersofts with nearly the same lap time, but it should be a one-lap tire for qualifying. Antonio ran a kind of FP1 program in the afternoon. I shared my thoughts with him and we tried to benefit from each other.”  

“It’s a good feeling to be back in the car and to help the team again with a lot of laps. It was a difficult Friday, swapping from FP1 to FP2, but in the end we did a lot of laps and some high-fuel running. We did a few things different to what I’ve done before, so I’m happy with that. Again, thanks to the team for the opportunity.”

“A busy day. We got a lot done today. We swapped drivers in the morning, between FP1 and FP2, with Antonio doing FP2 and Kevin doing FP1. We got a lot of data. We need to find a little bit more speed for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get better. The guys are looking at it all now. Otherwise, it was quite a calm day by Haas standards. No big drama, but a little bit of speed is missing.”

Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (11:00-12:00) before qualifying starts at 14:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 15 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.