SAO PAULO (AP) — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen clocked the fastest lap of the first practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen was 0.049 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Newly crowned champion Lewis Hamilton was third, 0.096 seconds behind at Interlagos.
Practice was run under cloudy weather. Rain is expected during qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, and will want to be as high as possible in qualifying because he faces a five-place grid drop after replacing his turbocharger for the sixth time this season.
The Australian, who started from pole position in Mexico two weeks ago, also started from the back in Italy and Russia because of penalties.
Simona de Silvestro will become a test driver for the Venturi Formula E team for 2018/2019 season.In addition
De Silvestro previously raced limited events in the series during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons.
I’m delighted to make my return to Formula E as a test driver for Venturi Formula E Team and I’m grateful to Susie (Wolff, team principal) and Gildo (Pastor, team president) for the opportunity,” de Silvestro said on SpeedCafe.com.
“Since competing in Season 2, I’ve kept a close eye on the Formula E championship and followed its development with interest,” de Silvestro continued. “The arrival of the new Gen2 car represents a huge milestone for the series and I am very happy to be back in an active role at this exciting and important time.”
De Silvestro has raced in Australian Supercars since 2017. She will continue to race in that series with Kelly Racing as she balances her time with Venturi.
The bulk of de Silvestro’s testing will be done in its simulator in Monaco.
“The next 12 months will be really busy for me with both Formula E and my Australian Supercars commitments but I’m ready for the challenge and it’s a joy to be working with such a well connected and committed team as Venturi,” de Silvestro said.
“Simona is a real team player and a driver I was keen to work with,” said team principal Wolff. “She has a very positive attitude and no-nonsense approach to her work which will fit in well with the team.”