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Hamilton: Mercedes in ‘decent position’ after strong Friday practice

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Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes is in a “decent position” after sweeping to one-two finishes in both Formula 1 practice sessions on Friday at Interlagos ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Two weeks on from clinching his fourth F1 title in Mexico, Hamilton showed few signs of easing off at the front of the F1 pack as he topped the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2 in Brazil, laying down a new track record in the process.

Mercedes finished comfortably clear of rival teams Red Bull and Ferrari in both sessions, and while Hamilton is pleased with how his Friday went, the Briton remains wary of the threat that could arrive later in the weekend.

“It’s been a good day. It was pretty exciting to come to the track with the cars being so much faster this year,” Hamilton said.

“It’s physically more demanding than before which is great and it’s obviously quite warm out there today.

“We got through the long runs and the short runs; unfortunately, the tires don’t really last very long, so you only get one or two laps on the short runs.

“Overall, we got through what we needed to do. We’re in a decent position but I think it could be quite close.”

Teammate Valtteri Bottas took second in both sessions for Mercedes, finishing four-hundredths of a second behind Hamilton in FP2, but the Finn is confident that more time can be found.

“I think it was a positive day for us,” Bottas said. “Initially in Practice 1 we did some aero tests, looking at some things we can improve for next year. We now have some data to analyze from that.

“Otherwise, I think both the short runs and the long runs in both sessions looked positive for us as a team, so we have a good starting point for the weekend.

“Still, we were a little bit struggling to get the set-up right for each corner of the circuit. However, I was really enjoying this track and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

FIA F3 Europe
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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.