The first session around Interlagos finished with Lewis Hamilton on top of the timesheet, just 9 thousandths of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.  Lewis must be asking ‘what if’ when thinking about his numerous car failures earlier this season – could possibly have still been in with a shot of the 2012 title.

Mercedes’ poor form in recent races isn’t showing much sign of change if these times are anything to go by, Rosberg was down in 18th and Michael Schumacher’s plan to bow out of F1 on a high doesn’t look to be on track if the best he can muster is 11th.  That said, it’s only practice so who knows what setups and testing work the teams were doing.

The other championship battle to be decided this weekend is between Williams and Force India who are scrapping over 7th, although it would take a strong result for Williams and a poor one for Force India if the Williams team are to snatch the position.  By the same token, if Sauber have a shocker on Sunday and Force India have a blinder of a race then Vijay Mallya’s team could snaffle 6th in the constructors championship.  Watch this space.

Further down the grid, there’s the much coveted 10th place in the constructors championship to be decided too.  Even though Marussia, Caterham and HRT have zero points between them, Marussia have recorded the highest finishing position this season and are currently on track to grab 10th and some well-earned prize money.  Only this Sunday’s race stands between them and some handy dollars that Caterham would very much enjoy too.  With the Brazilian GP often throwing a crazy result, especially with some unpredictable weather on the horizon, the situation could change…

POSDriverTeamBestDiffLaps
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren/Mercedes1'14.13133
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull/Renault1'14.1400.00935
3Mark WebberRed Bull/Renault1'14.1980.06734
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Mercedes1'14.2170.08631
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1'14.3920.26128
6Felipe MassaFerrari1'14.7160.58529
7Romain GrosjeanLotus/Renault1'14.7190.58833
8Paul Di RestaForce India/Mercedes1'14.7380.60734
9Pastor MaldonadoWilliams/Renault1'15.0150.88437
10Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1'15.0500.91932
11M.SchumacherMercedes1'15.1140.98336
12Kamui KobayashiSauber/Ferrari1'15.2551.12431
13Sergio PerezSauber/Ferrari1'15.3961.26532
14Valtteri BottasWilliams/Renault1'15.4131.28223
15Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso/Ferrari1'15.5871.45635
16Kimi RaikkonenLotus/Renault1'15.7011.57016
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso/Ferrari1'16.0481.91735
18Nico RosbergMercedes1'16.3152.18436
19G.van der GardeCaterham/Renault1'16.4602.32932
20Timo GlockMarussia/Cosworth1'16.5062.37531
21Vitaly PetrovCaterham/Renault1'16.6172.48630
22Charles PicMarussia/Cosworth1'17.2343.10326
23Pedro de la RosaHRT/Cosworth1'17.6783.54715
24N.KarthikeyanHRT/Cosworth1'17.8953.76413
Vettel points out he’s got a great chance of victory and the title – credit: Red Bull Racing Media