Formula One: Vettel tops Leclerc as Ferrari rule Brazil GP practice

SAO PAULO (DPA) – Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari one-two on Friday (Nov 15) practice for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix where the famed Italian team wants to bounce back from a recent setback.

Vettel clocked 1 minute 9.217 seconds on the 4.309km Interlagos course where he has won three times in the past, beating team-mate Charles Leclerc by .21 of a second.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton from world champions Mercedes.

Conditions were better in the afternoon than in the morning where Verstappen’s team-mate Alex Albon posted the fastest time in the wet at 1:16.142 before crashing late on.

Albon’s car was repaired quickly and he placed ninth in the afternoon.

Ferrari were far from glorious two weeks ago in the United States where Bottas won and Hamilton clinched a sixth career world title with two races to spare.

They now want to prove that their dip in form after several fast races has nothing to do with with a governing body FIA clarification on how fuel could be delivered.

Verstappen had suggested Ferrari had been fast because they cheated before the US race, a statement Ferrari and their drivers angrily dismissed.

Up for grabs is still third place in the drivers’ standings behind Hamilton and Bottas, with Leclerc third, 14 points ahead of Verstappen and 19 clear of Vettel but facing a 10-place grid penalty in Brazil over an engine change.

Final practice and qualifying are on Saturday, and the penultimate season race on Sunday.

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