Lewis Hamilton makes surprising admission ahead of Brazilian Grand Prix

Hamilton already has the title in the bag heading into this weekend's race in Brazil.

After losing the title in Mexico, Vettel said he enjoyed getting back in the auto in Brazil on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton, with four world championship stars freshly painted on his race helmet, smashed the Interlagos track record as Mercedes dominated Brazilian Grand Prix practice on Friday.

But the 32-year-old Englishman put his off-track troubles firmly to one side to end both sessions at the summit of the order ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The sister pink auto was driven extremely well to 12th place by rookie George Russell, having his first official F1 run at a Grand Prix meeting; the GP3 champion lapped only six-tenths slower than Ocon despite never having seen Interlagos before. In both sessions he was followed by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. "As a team we really want to finish one and two".

"As you would expect I'm hoping for another damp race weekend as I don't think we can be as competitive there in the dry, especially with the elevation changes on the straight", said Verstappen.

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Far from taking his foot off the gas following the successful pursuit of his fourth F1 world championship, Lewis Hamilton showed that he is still keen to keep chasing top spot in both practice sessions on day on at Interlagos.

The Finn had been closest to the Mercedes duo in the first session but Australian Daniel Ricciardo filled that position later on for Red Bull.

Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen was third, 0.542s behind Hamilton, as he in turn finished a mere 0.006s clear of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

That is a contrast with his approach the last time he won the title early, in 2015, when his team-mate Nico Rosberg won the final three races of the season and used it as a launchpad for a strong start to the following year, which he ended as champion.

"As I said before, my mentality for the last two races is to win - and I have not been told otherwise".

Lance Stroll was 11th for Williams, ahead of Mercedes-backed GP3 champion George Russell, who received his first run out for Force India.

  • Tabitha Byrd