Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won his criticism of brazilian Grand Prix weekend to the ideal start with fastest time in the first practice.
To take the title fight to the final race, Hamilton must leave his team-mate Nico Rosberg to win the race on Sunday.
Hamilton was 0.230 seconds faster than the German, who was only a third, the two separated by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton was 0.096 seconds faster than the Dutchman, whose team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest.
The session was held in hot and sunny conditions in Sao Paulo, but is expected to rain in the afternoon and the weekend is predicted to be cool and showery.
The moisture conditions are likely to bring Red Bull in the mix for the victory, which could play into Hamilton’s hands.
McLaren driver, Jenson Button, Hamilton’s former team-mate, said: “If it is moist, mix the things. Lewis knows that he is very good in the wet and can make a big points score. Nico knows that there is much more to lose. I’m sure that Nico wants it to dry. But everyone watching wants to be wet.”
Rosberg has a 19-point advantage over Hamilton, who has won the last two races in the united states and Mexico.
A victory could extend Rosberg’s advantage of at least 26 points, meaning that Hamilton could not beat him at Abu Dhabi in two weeks.
Ricciardo said Mercedes were likely to finish one-two, if the race is dry and if Rosberg is second behind Hamilton, then he would have only a third place in Abu Dhabi in two weeks to secure his first world title.
Rosberg says he is focused only on trying to win in Brazil.
“It is incredible to be in the fight for the world championship with two races, so, yes, excited about the weekend, with a lot of enthusiasm and, of course, is going to try to go for the victory,” he said.
Behind the Mercedes and Red bull, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest, was separated from his team-mate Felipe Massa in his last Grand Prix of brazil – by the Force India of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were only ninth and 10th, Vettel 1.672 seconds behind Hamilton and 0.002 seconds faster than the Finn, but did not run on the soft tyre.
Ferrari only ran the half, which is in the region of 0.7 seconds slower than the soft tyres used by all ahead of them to establish their best times.
Vettel had a spin late in the session in the fast downhill left-hander called Mergulho, the penultimate corner on the track.
Jenson Button, two races from the likely end of his F1 career, was the 13th, a place and 0.044 seconds ahead of McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Jolyon Palmer, confirmed that stay at Renault next season, was 19th fastest, his team-mate, Kevin Magnussen sat out of the session as the Russian GP2 driver Sergey Sirotkin was given a chance, ending up slowest of all.
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