Hamil­ton has edge again on Ros­berg in Brazil­ian GP prac­tices

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Lewis Hamil­ton has the re­cent edge on Mercedes team­mate Nico Ros­berg, win­ning the last two Formula One races in Mex­ico and the United States.

The English­man had it again Fri­day in both prac­tices for the Brazil­ian Grand Prix, each time find­ing just a sliver of ex­tra pace to nip Ros­berg.

Hamil­ton needs a vic­tory on Sun­day to push the sea­son-ti­tle chase to the last race in two weeks in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s been a good day,” Hamil­ton said. “It’s pretty tough out here phys­i­cally right now with the heat as high as it is. We can be happy with the start we made to­day.”

For his part, Ros­berg can claim his first Formula One ti­tle if he wins on Sun­day, which would de­prive Hamil­ton of a chance for his fourth driver’s ti­tle.

Ros­berg leads Hamil­ton by 19 points in the sea­son stand­ings through 19 of 21 races. The German also com­plained about the heat as Brazil moves into its sum­mer months.

“Strat­egy-wise it won’t be straight­for­ward for the race,” Ros­berg said. “But, again, it’s meant to get quite a lot colder so we could see some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent on Sun­day.”

The track was dry on Fri­day, and should be in qual­i­fy­ing on Satur­day. But rain is in the fore­cast for Sun­day, which could cause havoc and up­sets.

The In­ter­la­gos cir­cuit has a his­tory of wet races and shock­ing fin­ishes.

“There’s some un­pre­dictable weather fore­cast over the next few days, so op­por­tu­ni­ties can hope­fully present them­selves to put up a bit of a chal­lenge,” said Chris­tian Horner, team prin­ci­pal for Red Bull, which has been Mercedes’ No. 1 ri­val all sea­son.

To be fair, Hamil­ton might be lead­ing the stand­ings were it not for the Malaysian Grand Prix in Oc­to­ber. His en­gine caught fire near the end of the race, a race he was lead­ing eas­ily. That cost him 25 points, and he’s been chasing ever since.

Hamil­ton was 0.230 sec­onds faster than Ros­berg in the first prac­tice ses­sion, and just a tiny sliver faster in the sec­ond — 0.030 — on the hilly track south of Sao Paulo’s down­town area.

“This cir­cuit is renowned for throw­ing jok­ers into the pack,” Paddy Lowe, Mercedes tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor said. “So we take noth­ing for granted head­ing into the week­end.”

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