Formula 1

Brazilian Grand Prix practice: Alex Albon fastest but crashes

Red Bull driver Alex Albon set the fastest lap in opening practice for Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix before crashing, while Lewis Hamilton failed to set a time.

Albon was quickest after the intermediate tyre runs but shunted with fewer than three minutes remaining while preparing for a late flying lap on slicks.

The session was not restarted, meaning Albon led the way from Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel.

Torrential rain hit Interlagos on Thursday evening and again on Friday morning, but conditions eased as the first 90-minute session began and by the end of practice one drivers were able to attempt a small amount of running on slick tyres.

Ferrari driver Vettel was the first to brave a soaking wet track, using full wet tyres a couple of minutes into the session, but it would take another 20 minutes before a lap time was set.

Carlos Sainz Jr posted a 1m22.149s that stood as the lone time for another 10 minutes, before Charles Leclerc went quickest on a 1m21.259s.

Leclerc was then first to move onto intermediate tyres, which he used to go four seconds faster than before and he stayed on top initially even as others discarded wets too.

Vettel later displaced his Ferrari team-mate with a 1m17.041s before Valtteri Bottas set the first sub-1m17s lap, a 1m16.693s.

With 20 minutes remaining, Hamilton and both Red Bull drivers were among those still to set a lap time.

Albon then leapt from the foot of the times to first place, posting a 1m16.399s, while Max Verstappen waited until just over five minutes were left before heading out for his first flying lap – on slick tyres.

The perils of the slippery surface were immediately evident, though, as Verstappen spun in the middle of the Senna S shortly after Leclerc had run wide at the same place.

Daniil Kvyat also had a harmless spin at the top of the first complex, but Albon was not as lucky as his colleagues.

The recently-confirmed Red Bull 2020 driver was completing his out-lap when he slid off the road approaching the penultimate corner.

Albon hit the barriers heavily, with the front-right of his car taking the brunt of the impact, and the session was red-flagged and not restarted.

It meant no driver improved on slick tyres at the end, leaving Albon quickest from Bottas, Vettel, Leclerc, and Sainz.

Albon’s shunt also meant Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Verstappen and Hamilton all failed to set a time.

Practice one times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1m16.142s 9
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m16.693s 0.551s 10
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m17.041s 0.899s 13
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m17.285s 1.143s 13
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m17.786s 1.644s 16
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m17.899s 1.757s 8
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m17.985s 1.843s 9
8 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m18.100s 1.958s 17
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m18.274s 2.132s 16
10 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m18.559s 2.417s 15
11 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m18.779s 2.637s 18
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m19.247s 3.105s 10
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m19.414s 3.272s 6
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m19.532s 3.390s 12
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m19.600s 3.458s 18
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1m20.010s 3.868s 16
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 3
18 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1
19 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 3
20 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3

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