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São Paulo FP1: Hamilton takes grid penalty

São Paulo FP1

São Paulo Grand Prix starts with Lewis Hamilton topping the time charts in FP1. Followed by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The windy weather welcomed the cars after a year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some drivers struggled with tyre lock ups mostly at Turn 1.

The interesting bit of the session came with a grid penalty news from the Mercedes side. Lewis Hamilton will get a five place grid penalty on race day. He’ll get a new internal combustion engine, this being his fifth of this season.

Coming into this weekend, the Mercedes driver is behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship by 19 points. And this back drop will not really help the seven time world champion at a track where Red Bull is strong. 

This season is in no way following a rule book which means Hamilton can still potentially win the race. But early in the session, he complained about his car being bouncy.

“Front end is really poor. Bouncing, vertically a lot.”, he said on the radio.

He also asked his team to come up with another solution for the front suspension. And later he found his form setting the fastest lap.

His teammate, Valtteri Bottas was on fourth. Behind him was Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) in fifth. The Ferraris of Sainz (P6) and Leclerc (P7) outpaced the McLaren team. 

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso took the 8th and 9th position with Stroll (Aston Martin) rounding off the top 10.

Further on this week holds the last sprint format of this season. That makes the qualifying shift a day earlier i.e. on Friday – the same day as FP1 of São Paulo GP. Since the clouds are hovering so don’t forget to tune into the qualifying at the right time.

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