In the final Free Practice session before the Sao Paulo qualifying, TAG Heuer Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa set the pace going quickest with a 1m11.496s. Nine teams made up the top 10 and just a second split the top 20 as we prepare for the inaugural race weekend in Brazil in just a few hours.
Da Costa topped the timesheets, with the winner last time out in Cape Town, wanting a repeat of his recent successes at this new 2.933km circuit. Just behind him was the Maserati MSG Racing of Maximilian Guenther, hoping to get a haul of points during race day after a poor start to the season for the new team in GEN3. Nissan’s Norman Nato was just 0.001s slower than Guenther, putting him in third.
Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein popped his Porsche into fourth, with fellow Porsche-powertrain customer Jake Dennis in his Avalanche Andretti finishing the session in fifth.
All drivers were on their best behaviour on the bumpy track surface, not wanting to waste any time getting laps under their belts on this rapid street circuit. Several had issues with track limits again, with many frequently going off at Turn 1 and Turn 6 over the weekend. Narrowly missing the tyre barriers, it’ll be a place to watch come qualifying and the race.
Half way through the session, Mahindra Racing’s Lucas di Grassi topped the timesheets - something sure to please the home crowd. The Season 3 champion has 13 wins to his name but will have to put on the performance of his career to win here at Sao Paulo. He stopped abruptly at the end of the session but got going again and finished 15th.
Despite Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird being due to serve a grid penalty today after his Hyderabad incident, the two Jaguar drivers finished FP2 in 13th and 22nd. With their customer team, Envision Racing, helping Sebastien Buemi go fastest in FP1 yesterday, there are questions that will need to be answered by the British outfit ahead of qualifying and the race.
Qualifying is next at 09:40 local. Round 6 of Season 9 gets underway from 14:00.