Lewis Hamilton completes practice double in Sao Paulo

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Sebastian Vettel says Mercedes is the clear favourite for victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix after the first two sessions of Friday practice.

Red Bull's Mexican GP victor Max Verstappen was the only driver to set a laptime in the first 10 minutes - but his initial benchmark was quickly surpassed by the soft-shod Mercedes of Bottas, the Finn ending his first run on a 1m10.102s laptime. "As a team we really want to finish one and two". McLaren has struggled at Brazil in its troubled time with Honda and the Interlagos circuit has provided two of the more iconic images of the partnership - Alonso relaxing in a deckchair in 2015 and then doubling up as a trackside cameraman a year ago, both after engine failures. Overall, we got through what we needed to do. "I think we can fine-tune the balance and that should help us", Vettel said.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth fastest, though is set to be handed a 10-place grid penalty after taking on a new MGU-H, his eighth of the campaign.

No other team could get within half a second of Hamilton's best, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen coming closest, 0.542s off the world champion.

His 20-year-old Dutch team mate Max Verstappen, victor of two of the last four races, was fourth and fifth on the respective timesheets. Will team orders come into effect at Mercedes?

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Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, of Finland, steers his auto during the first free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

That is a contrast with his approach the last time he won the title early, in 2015, when his team-mate Nico Rosberg won the final three races of the season and used it as a launchpad for a strong start to the following year, which he ended as champion. Vettel had a harmless spin early in the session, possibly on oil laid by Brendon Hartley.

"I have got these two races to go and I think this is a better time than ever to apply even more pressure, just because I can".

Sergio Perez was 12th for Force India ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, while Williams rookie Lance Stroll finished in 14th, though he will hope to cut the 0.7s deficit to teammate Massa in qualifying.

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