Sao Paulo (AP) - Alexander Albon has set the best time at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix and then demolished his Red Bull.

The 23-year-old British-Thai Formula 1 driver came off the drying track just before the end and only stopped in the tire stacks. Previously Albon, whose contract had been extended before the penultimate Grand Prix this year for 2020, had set the fastest lap in 1'16.142 minutes at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace just outside São Paulo.

Second place went to Vice World Champion Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari and his team-mate Charles Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton came just two weeks after his sixth title win at no timed round. With the Mercedes but was "fine," as his team assured. Nico Hülkenberg finished sixth at the opening of his penultimate Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Vettel opened the one and a half hour session. When he drove shortly before Leclerc on the approximately 4.3-kilometer route, this was partially still under water. After heavy showers, the rain only became less during the first training session. Hamilton withstood this for a long time from attempting a quick lap. The 34-year-old Briton waited until he drove his World Champion car out of the pits. Instead, Hamilton chatted relaxedly with his race engineer.

Shortly before the end Max Verstappen slipped on the track in Senna-S with dry tires in the Red Bull before teammate Albon crashed into the tire piles and the car had to be towed away. The red traffic lights were shining, giving Hamilton the chance to make a timed lap two minutes before the end.

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