Mercedes had the edge over their rivals in the Friday practice, as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton lined up the schedule for the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend.
Only three thousandths of a second separated the Finn from the world champion, with Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari less than a tenth lower on the Silver Arrows at Interlagos.
Hamilton was third in the morning when Max Verstappen opened the pace in opening exercises.
Valtteri Bottas was the fastest in the second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlgos
Max Verstappen clocked the fastest lap of the first practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix
Red Bull driver Verstappen was 0.049 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari
World champion Lewis Hamilton could only drive the third fastest in Interlagos, Sao Paulo
Hamilton, back in his Mercedes cockpit for the first time since he won his fifth World Championship in Mexico two weeks ago, was only 0.096 seconds slower than Verstappen on the Interlagos circuit.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel split Verstappen and Hamilton, half a tenth of the pace of the Dutchman.
Hamilton failed to win a race after having won the championship with rounds in his pocket.
In 2015 Nico Rosberg won the last three Grand Prix of the season, before Vettel and Valtteri Bottas each won a victory last year.
But the British driver, who plays a fifth championship star on his helmet, in honor of his latest title triumph, wants to add his victory of just one victory to his childhood hero Ayrton Senna to the proof of the opening. running can have its work cut out.
As in Mexico, Verstappen, who claimed his second victory of the year, set the early pace, while Vettel and Ferrari, who had to surpass 13 points on Sunday to prevent them from winning a fifth straight constructor crown, were also ahead of the game. Hamilton in the pecking order.
Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari split Verstappen and Hamilton, half a tenth of the Dutchman's pace
Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth for Red Bull, 0.384 seconds later on his teammate Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull, 0.384 seconds behind his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari finished fifth and Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Bottas finished sixth in the order.
British teenager Lando Norris replaced Fernando Alonso for the first session, continuing his preparation for his full debut for McLaren next year. Norris finished 16th, four tenths of a second faster than Stoffel Vandoorne in the sister car.
Norris has now finished faster than Vandoorne in all four practice sessions in which they participated this season together. In a relatively incident-free session Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished seventh and eighth for Haas for the Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc and Force India & # 39; s Esteban Ocon.
BRAZILIAN GP FIRST PRACTICE
1 Verstappen (Hollow) Red Bull 1: 09.011
2 Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1: 09.060
3 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1: 09.107
4 Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1: 09.395
5 Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1: 09.573
6 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1: 09.679
7 Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1: 09.922
8 Magnussen (Den) Haas 1: 10.236
9 Leclerc (Mon) Sauber 1: 10.346
10 Ocon (Fra) Force India 1: 10.361
11 Sainz (Spa) Renault 1: 10.662
12 Hulkenburg (Ger) Renault 1: 10.679
13 Giovinazzi (Ita) Sauber 1: 10.685
14 Stroll (Can) Williams 1: 10,799
15 Gasly (Fra) Toro Rosso 1: 10.934
16 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1: 11.013
17 Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 1: 11,037
18 Hartley (Nzl) Toro Rosso 1: 11,176
19 Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 1: 11.452
20 Latifi (Can) Force India 1: 11,493