Champions field creates Formula 1 first in Brazil

Mark Scott

Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Brendon Hartley all create history in the first practice session in Brazil.

Brendon Hartley is celebrating his 28th birthday today, but one present he didn’t want in Brazil is a grid penalty for new engine parts. Team-mate Pierre Gasly and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo are also set to be early victims.

Rain is expected during practice on Friday and qualifying on Saturday, but it is due to be a dry race come Sunday.

Antonio Giovinazzi was supposed to be one of the test drivers taking part in FP1. However, Haas had a late change of plan.

Young Mercedes driver George Russell got his first FP1 outing though at Force India and that helped created a little bit of history in Sao Paulo. For the first time ever, every reigning champion in every major single-seater motorsport series were all involved in the same session.

Max Verstappen was among the early starters in Brazil…

But it didn’t take long for the session to be disrupted a little as Hartley’s Toro Rosso went up in smoke…

There was bad news on the other side of the Toro Rosso garage, too.

Heading inside the second half of the session, Hamilton and Hulkenberg had a squabble over track space which forced the former onto the grass and prompted this Twitter exchange between Mercedes and Renault.

But Hamilton finished FP1 in the usual top spot with Bottas a tenth back in P2…

Pascal Wehrlein was back in action for Sauber for FP2 having sat out the morning’s session for Leclerc.

Toro Rosso were super busy during the break getting both cars ready for the afternoon session.

Perhaps the moment race engineer Simon Rennie told Ricciardo about his penalty…

Sebastian Vettel seeks divine intervention from… Sebastian Vettel!

Romain Grosjean locks up and reports a lot of front-locking to his Haas team.

Fernando Alonso could have done with a new deckchair as his Honda-powered MCL32 gave up the ghost in FP2, resulting in a rather frustrated Spaniard. Alas there was no deckchair on hand but the good news is he returned to the action later in the session and finished P10.

Marcus Ericsson met the wall but somehow his Sauber survived and he was able to return to the pits.

It was a much better afternoon for Renault with Nico Hulkenberg inside the top ten while Carlos Sainz was P11.

Hamilton finished quickest of all to grab the Friday double.