Brazilian Grand Prix: Red Bull's Sergio Perez fastest in opening practice

Sergio Perez finished fastest for Red Bull in opening practice of the Brazilian Grand Prix, just four thousandths of a second faster than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Double world champion Max Verstappen was third, only 0.008sec back, with Carlos Sainz, who is facing a five-place grid penalty for an engine change, fourth.

Lewis Hamilton finished fifth as the Mercedes driver bids to keep his unique winning record alive.

Heading into the penultimate round of the 22-race campaign here in Interlagos, seven-time world champion Hamilton is facing up to the prospect that he will end the season without a single victory for the first time in his career.

The 37-year-old, who won so brilliantly in Brazil last year, believes the short venue in Sao Paulo will offer him a greater chance of winning than at next weekend's final race in Abu Dhabi.

But the British driver ended the final action before qualifying later on Friday trailing both Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.

Hamilton finished 0.186sec adrift of Perez. His Mercedes team-mate George Russell took sixth, two tenths off the pace.

British driver Lando Norris was forced to abandon his media duties on Thursday after suffering with suspected food poisoning.

But the 22-year-old returned to his McLaren for opening practice and finished 15th.

Interlagos is playing host to Formula One's third and final sprint round of the campaign.

Qualifying determines the grid for Saturday's shortened race. The finishing positions of Saturday's 24-lap dash sets the starting places for Sunday's Grand Prix.

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