Party boy Lewis still too quick

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

LEWIS HAMIL­TON brushed off his car crash con­tro­versy to head the or­der in open­ing prac­tice yes­ter­day morn­ing for the Brazil­ian Grand Prix.

Hamil­ton’s prepa­ra­tions for the penul­ti­mate race of his cham­pi­onship- win­ning cam­paign have been ham­pered by his mys­te­ri­ous in­ci­dent in Monaco in the early hours of Tues­day morn­ing.

But the Bri­ton, who is also re­cov­er­ing from a fever and is yet to win in Brazil, posted a best lap of one minute and 13.543 sec­onds to fin­ish ahead of his Mercedes team­mate Nico Ros­berg. Fer­rari driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel fin­ished third in the stand­ings 0.625 sec­onds adrift of Hamil­ton with the Red Bull of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo in fourth al­most one sec­ond off the pace.

On Thurs­day, Hamil­ton re­vealed a fort­night of “heavy par­ty­ing” and “not much rest” con­trib­uted to him hit­ting a sta­tion­ary ve­hi­cle while driv­ing his £1.5 mil­l­lion lim­ited edi­tion Pa­gani Zonda supercar at ap­prox­i­mately 3.30am on Tues­day morn­ing.

He sub­se­quently de­layed his flight from Monaco to Sao Paulo by 24 hours, miss­ing a spon­sors’ event on Wed­nes­day, and only ar­riv­ing for this week­end’s race yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Hamil­ton ini­tially re­fused to ex­tend on his In­sta­gram post in which he re­vealed no­body was hurt in a crash which he claimed he made “very light con­tact” with an­other ve­hi­cle.

But later, when speak­ing to the me­dia, Hamil­ton added: “It was a re­sult of heavy par­ty­ing and not much rest for a week and a half. I’m a bit run down. I’ve been non-stop and try­ing to fit train­ing in at the same time and not get­ting a lot of sleep.”

Yet the Bri­ton, who sealed his third For­mula One cham­pi­onship with three races to spare in Austin last month, led the way at the fa­mous In­ter­la­gos track yes­ter­day.

He was the best part of halfa-sec­ond up on Ros­berg, win­ner here last year, and who is bid­ding to se­cure his fifth con­sec­u­tive pole. Kimi Räikkö­nen fin­ished fifth in prac­tice, and sur­vived a hairy mo­ment when he lost con­trol of his Fer­rari un­der-brak­ing at turn four.

A messy trip across the gravel en­sued be­fore he headed back to the garage and parked his car with a lit­tle un­der 10 min­utes of the ses­sion left.

Jenson But­ton, who is back at the scene of his ti­tle vic­tory in 2009 and his fi­nal race win in 2012, be­lieves McLaren will be back fight­ing at the sharp end of the grid next sea­son de­spite their aw­ful year.

He was 13th fastest al­most two sec­onds slower than Hamil­ton yes­ter­day while his team­mate Fer­nando Alonso was 16th. Daniil Kvyat was sixth for Red Bull, Valt­teri Bot­tas sev­enth, Max Ver­stap­pen eighth, Nico Hulken­berg ninth with Lo­tus’ Pas­tor Mal­don­ado in 10th. – Daily Mail


AL­WAYS GOT TIME FOR AN IN­STA­GRAM: Lewis Hamil­ton poses for a pho­to­graph with a fan yes­ter­day. The For­mula One cham­pion ar­rived late for prac­tice ahead of tomorrow’s Brazil Grand Prix.

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