Brazilian GP: Hamilton edges Verstappen in FP3

Lewis Hamilton narrowly defeated Max Verstappen to top final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, hinting at a tight Formula 1 qualifying battle between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Brazilian GP: Hamilton edges Verstappen in FP3

Hamilton's 1m08.320s shaded Verstappen by just 0.026s ahead of qualifying at Interlagos, with Ferrari slightly adrift of its two rivals.

Verstappen headed the order at the halfway stage of the session after emerging on top of the first set of soft-tyre runs.

His 1m109.063s was the second of two laps that put him quickest after taking to the track later than his rivals.

Hamilton was 0.391s behind as Mercedes opted for a third flying lap for each of its drivers on the same set of tyres.

The Ferraris were shuffled back to more than half a second slower than Verstappen at this stage, but moved to the top by kicking off the second round of qualifying simulations.

Leclerc outpaced Vettel by half a tenth, while Vettel failed to improve by 0.005s after two cool-down laps and a second flier.

However, Hamilton swiftly knocked Leclerc off top spot with a 1m08.320s that beat the Ferrari by almost three tenths of a second.

Valtteri Bottas failed to make similar ground in the other Mercedes, posting a personal best but lapping almost a second slower than Hamilton after running wide exiting the left-hander at the end of the first sector.

Verstappen's final qualifying simulations started strongly with the best first sector of anyone, but he lost time to Hamilton in the middle part of the lap and wound up 0.026s adrift.

Another fastest first sector followed, but the lap fell away again and he just failed to improve.

Alex Albon, who was well behind Verstappen after their first efforts, improved twice on his second set to jump Bottas into fifth, although still wound up 0.8s off the pace.

Behind the big three teams, Daniil Kvyat recovered from his Friday off to set the fastest time among the midfielders.

The Toro Rosso driver was just two tenths slower than Albon, and half a tenth clear of Antonio Giovinazzi's Alfa Romeo.

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz completed the top 10.

At the foot of the times, Robert Kubica finally completed his first timed laps of the weekend.

Kubica had missed FP1 so reserve driver Nicholas Latifi could take part, then crashed heavily at the start of FP2.

The damage required Williams to switch Kubica to a new chassis, which he used to complete 23 laps – more than any other driver – on his way to the slowest time, three tenths behind teammate George Russell.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 17 1'08.320
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 18 1'08.346 0.026
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 20 1'08.611 0.291
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 22 1'08.664 0.344
5 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull 17 1'09.136 0.816
6 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 20 1'09.201 0.881
7 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 22 1'09.415 1.095
8 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 20 1'09.462 1.142
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 18 1'09.585 1.265
10 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 21 1'09.588 1.268
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 21 1'09.619 1.299
12 France Pierre Gasly
Toro Rosso 19 1'09.625 1.305
13 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 17 1'09.650 1.330
14 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 18 1'09.713 1.393
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 17 1'09.761 1.441
16 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 20 1'09.798 1.478
17 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 19 1'09.995 1.675
18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 16 1'10.312 1.992
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 19 1'10.843 2.523
20 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 23 1'11.205 2.885
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