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Hamilton back on top in Brazil

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton followed up his Abu Dhabi victory by setting the practice pace at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2012 20:01 IST
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McLaren's Lewis Hamilton followed up his Abu Dhabi victory by setting the practice pace at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday.

The Briton, wearing a special helmet carrying the logo and colours of Brazil's late triple champion Ayrton Senna that will be auctioned off after the weekend, lapped the anti-clockwise circuit with a best time of one minute 13.392 seconds in the afternoon.

Red Bull's double champion Sebastian Vettel, who wrapped up this year's title with four races to spare, was second fastest at Interlagos with a lap 0.167 slower and just ahead of Australian team mate Mark Webber.

Webber, with one last chance to win a race in a year dominated by Vettel, had been fastest in the morning session in 1:13.811.

The Australian, whose victory at Interlagos in 2009 was overshadowed by Jenson Button winning the title, was a contender right to the end in 2010 but has not won since Hungary in August last year.

He has now gone 25 races without success during which time Vettel, who can take the outright record of 15 poles in a single season if he qualifies fastest on Saturday, has won two championships and 14 grands prix.

Button, who won his title with Brawn and is now chasing his fourth win of the year with McLaren, was second on a hot and clear morning but seventh after lunch.

Felipe Massa, twice a winner in front of his home crowd and celebrating his 100th start for Ferrari this weekend, was fifth and sixth respectively.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who won both of his titles with Renault at Interlagos, pulled over with an engine failure at the end of the first session and needed a replacement for the second.

Ferrari said he would not suffer any penalty because the replacement was a previously used engine and within his allocation for the season.

The positions in second practice from ninth place downwards went in pairs of team mates.

Czech driver Jan Charouz made his Friday debut with the HRT team in the morning and was last on the timing screens.

Charouz, who replaced Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi for the session, was one of a handful of drivers in action who will not take part in Sunday's race.

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, who started last year's race on pole for Williams and is now Force India reserve, was eighth fastest in the morning.

France's Romain Grosjean, a favourite for a race seat next year now that Poland's Robert Kubica will not be ready for the season's start, was in the Renault while compatriot Jean-Eric Vergne had a run with Toro Rosso.