Lewis fastest before emotional farewell

SAO PAULO: Lewis Hamilton prepared for an emotional farewell to McLaren with the fastest time in practice for the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix  on Friday.

The Briton, who took his 2008 Formula One title at Interlagos and arrived in Brazil after winning the US Grand Prix in Texas last Sunday, lapped the anti-clockwise layout with a best time of one minute 14.131 seconds. 

The 27-year-old, who joins Mercedes next season, then lapped in 1:14.026 in the heat of the afternoon.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader who is favourite to clinch his third successive title today, was second fastest in both sessions.

He was just 0.009 off Hamilton's pace before lunch and 0.274 slower after the break.

However, the 25-year-old German set his morning time on this year's Pirelli tyres while Hamilton's came in a test of next year's prototype rubber.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Vettel's only title rival but 13 points off the lead, was fifth on both timesheets — 0.261 and 0.566 slower respectively than the quickest McLaren.

Australian Mark Webber was third in the morning and afternoon while McLaren's Jenson Button was fourth in the first session. Alonso's Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa was fourth after lunch.

Spaniard Alonso must finish on the podium today to have any hope of taking his third title while Vettel will be champion regardless of other results if he can secure fourth place or better.

Michael Schumacher, the seven-times world champion who is retiring for the second time today to make way for Hamilton at Mercedes, was sixth in the second session ahead of Rosberg with Button eighth.


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