Mercedes on top before Qualifying

Mercedes will be targeting pole position for tomorrows Brazilian Grand Prix following practice clean sweep.

World Champion Lewis Hamilton topped both of Friday’s sessions, setting a new lap record before teammate Valtteri Bottas lead the field on Saturday morning.

Felipe Massa’s second Brazilian farewell is set to be a promising one as he finished FP1 in seventh, first of the midfield pack and continued to prove his pace through the following sessions showing his knowledge the circuit.

Massa’s teammate Lance Stroll suffered a disappointing FP3 after he received a suspected gearbox problem early on and in due course a five place grid penalty, leaving Williams with work to do before qualifying.

Brendon Hartley pulled over in just his second lap in FP1 due to an engine failure, before Pierre Gasly retired with the same issue as the Renault engine continued to disappoint the Toro Rosso team.

The drivers have 10 place grid penalties and will almost certainly be starting from the back of the grid this weekend.

In a developing story, Toro Rosso slammed Renault over their recent engine fatalities and it is rumoured that the French company may withhold the engines due to a raw this morning.

Former Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel lost the rear end of his Ferrari at turn ninth on Friday morning finding himself in the grass as he struggled to sixth in FP1, whilst in FP2 he lost the car at the pit entry in a close shave with the barriers.

It took until FP3 for the Ferrari’s to show their true pace as they engaged in competition with front runners Mercedes, they would hope to compete through to Qualifying later this afternoon and challenge for pole.

Christian Horner confirmed that the two Red Bull cars are running ‘new bits’ on their cars ahead of the upcoming season, but in final practice the two cars struggled to compete with their rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

Max Verstappen rode the kerb in the final sector and the young Dutchman ended up facing the wrong way in the final session after struggling with oversteer.

His teammate, Daniel Riccardo will also encore a 10 place grid drop due to an engine change following his retirement in Mexico two weeks ago.

Recently crowned Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc made his fourth free practice appearance this season taking the wheels of Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber on Friday morning.

The Monegasque is expected to race for the Swiss outfit together with fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member, Antonio Giovinazzi.

Giovinazzi took the wheels of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas in FP2 to make his sixth practice appearance for the team this season, following his Grand Prix debut earlier this season subbing for the injured Wehrlein in Australia and China.

Newly crowned GP3 champion, George Russel made his free practice debut on Friday, when he took over Sergio Perez’s Force India. Russel will also participate in FP1 in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight time, this time in place of Esteban Ocon.

Qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix kicks-off at 4pm BST.

Edited by Evgeni Vakov

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