Brazil GP: Sainz leads Ferrari one-two in subdued Practice

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Carlos Sainz led a Ferrari one-two in a subdued Practice at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

A pair of soft tyre runs in the final minutes moved the Scuderia duo ahead of long-time pacesetter George Russell, while the other lead drivers opted not to run softer compound.

World champion Max Verstappen wasted no time to head out and go fastest with his first flying lap, as Perez made it a Red Bull one-two in the opening 15 minutes.

Returning to the scene of their last F1 win in 2022, Mercedes indicated they could be threats again in third and fourth and Nico Hulkenberg showed a strong early pace in fifth for Haas.

Fernando Alonso moved up to P6 before pitting with a puncture on the rear-left tyre.

Yuki Tsunoda would be the first man to try the medium compound and went P1, three-tenths clear of Verstappen's initial benchmark.

George Russell was next to try the yellow-striped tyres and knocked almost a second off the AlphaTauri's time to dip into the 1m11s for the first time.

After his heroics in Mexico, Daniel Ricciardo had a compromised start in Sao Paulo as floor damage limited the Aussie to just 11 laps on his first run.

Last year's fastest man in qualifying, Kevin Magnussen, jumped upto third on the soft tyre, before teammate Hulkenberg went P2 despite bumping into Lando Norris at Juncao after impeding the McLaren.

Alex Albon split the Haas' in P3 after his first soft tyre run, while Logan Sargeant suffered suspension issues in the sister Williams.

Oscar Piastri set two purple sectors before pitting on his first flying lap on the softs, leaving Russell's earlier lap still on top entering the final few minutes.

Carlos Sainz would eventually displace the Briton in P1, albeit by just one-tenth despite running one-step softer tyres with Charles Leclerc making it a Ferrari one-two in second.

Russell remained third ahead of Hulkenberg, Albon and Lance Stroll completing the top six.

Pierre Gasly took P7, ahead of Zhou Guanyu, Sargeant was P9 despite his suspension problem and Magnussen completed the top 10.

Most of the big hitters sat further down the field with Verstappen only 16th and Perez 18th as Red Bull opted to use just one set of hard tyres for the entire hour.

Lewis Hamilton was 12th despite completing a medium tyre run, just behind Alonso who fitted a second set of hard tyres after his puncture.

Tsunoda and Ricciardo were 13th and 14th, with Esteban Ocon 15th in the Alpine.

Valtteri Bottas sat between the Bulls in 17th as Norris and Piastri brought up the rear in the two McLarens.