Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari one-two in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, with George Russell taking third spot for Mercedes.
This was the only practice session before qualifying on Friday afternoon, due to the sprint race format, so teams were eager to make the most of their time on track.
Sainz set a fastest time of 1:11.732s on soft tyres, with Leclerc just 0.108s behind. Russell was a further 0.133s adrift, while Lewis Hamilton finished in 12th place.
Max Verstappen, the world champion, was down in 16th place, but he only ran on hard tyres during the session.
The track was dry throughout the session, and conditions are expected to remain the same for qualifying and the sprint race.
Ferrari’s performance in practice was a positive sign for the team, which is looking to finish the season strongly. Sainz and Leclerc have both been in good form in recent races, and they will be confident of challenging for pole position in qualifying.
Mercedes will also be hoping to be competitive at Interlagos. Russell has been consistently strong all season, and Hamilton will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance in Mexico last time out.
Red Bull is likely to be the main threat to Ferrari and Mercedes. Verstappen is the fastest driver on the grid, but he will need to start from a good position on the grid in order to challenge for victory.
It is shaping up to be a thrilling weekend at Interlagos, with Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull all looking competitive. Qualifying will be crucial, as it will be difficult to overtake on the tight and twisty track.
The sprint race on Saturday afternoon will also be worth watching, as it will give teams a chance to earn some valuable points ahead of the main race on Sunday.
DISCLAIMER: This team is based on the understanding, analysis, and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.