Lewis Hamilton highlighted his claim he is in a positive mood this weekend after leading the way in practice for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber grabbed the honours in the first 90-minute session at the undulating, picturesque Interlagos track on a hot day with a lap of one minute 13.811secs.
It was a benchmark that was lowered considerably in the afternoon run, with a confident Hamilton, fresh from his win in Abu Dhabi 12 days ago, posting a time of 1:13.392 for the 4.309km track
Double world champion Sebastian Vettel, eager to finish the season on a high following his first retirement of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit where he suffered a lap-one puncture, finished just 0.167secs adrift.
Webber, determined to end a 25-race winless drought stretching back to Hungary last season – in contrast Vettel has won on 14 occasions in that period – had to settle for third, 0.028secs behind his team -mate.
Fernando Alonso, whose Ferrari needed an engine replacement during the break between the two races after a failure at the end of the first session, was a close fourth, 0.206secs off the pace.
Encouragingly, the top seven were separated by less than 0.4secs as even Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher managed to mix it with the best this season, finishing 0.331secs down.
The seven-times champion had Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and McLaren of Jenson Button in close attendance, with the Brazilian on home soil and the Englishman 0.358secs and 0.395secs adrift respectively.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg ensured the top four teams occupied the top eight places, with the German just under half-a-second off of Hamilton.
Beyond that, the pecking order in F1 was perfectly illustrated as the pairings at Force India, Renault, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Lotus, Virgin and Hispania were all grouped together.
Surprisingly, the biggest margin between a duo was Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta at just under 0.7secs, with the Scot ending 1.415secs behind Hamilton, albeit on his first day at the circuit.
Vitaly Petrov finished ahead of Bruno Senna at Renault in 11th and 12th places, whilst Sergio Perez had the edge on Kamui Kobayashi at Sauber for 13th and 14th, despite a technical fault seeing the former’s session end 20 minutes early.
Sebastian Buemi finished in front of Jaime Alguersuari, whilst at Williams, Pastor Maldonado pipped Rubens Barrichello.
At Lotus, Jarno Trulli was ahead of Heikki Kovalainen, with Jerome D’Ambrosio beating Timo Glock at Virgin, and finally at Hispania, Daniel Ricciardo relegated Vitantonio Liuzzi to last place.