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Verstappen lays down marker in Brazil



Max Verstappen. Photo: Getty Images

Max Verstappen. Photo: Getty Images

Max Verstappen. Photo: Getty Images

Mexican Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen picked up where he left off by lapping fastest for Red Bull in first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Dutch driver, whose Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will have a five-place grid penalty for a change of turbocharger, lapped the anti-clockwise Interlagos circuit with a best time of one minute 09.011 seconds.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was second on the timesheets in 1:09.060 with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, his fifth Formula One championship won in Mexico City last month and reflected in the five stars on his helmet, third on an overcast morning. The top three, all on super-soft tyres, were separated by less than a tenth of a second, however.

Tomorrow's main focus is the battle for the constructors' championship, with Mercedes poised to win for the fifth year in a row and with a race to spare providing Ferrari do not outscore them by 13 points. Hamilton finished fourth in Mexico and has a habit of not winning again in a season where he takes the title early, something he is keen to end.

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