Sport

Vettel: Tough to beat Mercedes

Vettel: Tough to beat Mercedes”

Sebastian Vettel feels Mercedes will "tough to beat" in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix despite initial hopes Ferrari's Formula 1 auto would be stronger and able to take the fight to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The drivers' championship is done and dusted for Lewis Hamilton, but team mate Valtteri Bottas still has a shot at finishing second.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was next, 0.228secs off Hamilton and 0.132secs ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, 0.415sec adrift of Bottas, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen a further 0.006sec slower.

Hamilton clinched the championship at the last race in Mexico but says he is determined to win the final two races to keep the pressure on Ferrari going into the winter, following their collapse in the championship.

Despite leading the way in both free practice sessions at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on Friday, Lewis Hamilton feels it will be close between the three front running teams for the rest of the weekend.

Hamilton's best lap in one minute and 9.202 seconds lifted him a tenth clear of Bottas who is seeking to close a 15-points deficit on Vettel and beat him to runners-up spot in the title race.

"I like driving it was nice to get in a lot of laps today, more quiet on track than off track".

The demanding Interlagos track provoked a couple of spins, Haas driver Romain Grosjean and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson both losing control without suffering damage.

McLaren pair Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso placed eighth and 10th, sandwiching Force India's Esteban Ocon.

Lance Stroll was 0.530s off his Williams teammate in 11th ahead of Mercedes junior driver George Russell, who made his race weekend debut during a first practice outing in Sergio Perez's Force India.

Alonso's session was disrupted when he was recalled to the pits so Honda could investigate a problem it detected on the engine.



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