SAO PAULO – Finnish Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was slightly quicker than British teammate Lewis Hamilton in Friday’s second free practice session ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the second-to-last race of the 2018 Formula One season.
In his fastest lap of the 90-minute FP2, Bottas covered the 4.309-kilometer Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit – a racetrack in Sao Paulo’s Interlagos neighborhood – in one minute and 8.846 seconds.
Hamilton, who clinched his fifth F1 drivers’ title two weeks ago at the Mexican Grand Prix, clocked in with a best lap of 1:08.849.
Bottas and Hamilton are expected to clinch a fifth consecutive constructors’ title for Mercedes (585 points) this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who drive for Ferrari (530 points), need to garner at least 13 points more than their Mercedes counterparts on Sunday to keep the constructors’ race alive until the season’s final race – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov. 25.
The last time that happened was at the Austrian Grand Prix on July 1, when Raikkonen and Vettel finished second (18 points) and third (15 points), respectively, and Hamilton and Bottas were both forced to retire due to car failure and were not awarded any points.
Vettel was third in FP2 with a best lap of 1:08.919.
A third and final free practice session will be held early Saturday afternoon, while a qualifying session late Saturday afternoon will determine the grid spots for Sunday’s 71-lap, 306-km Brazilian GP.