Lewis Hamilton makes surprising admission ahead of Brazilian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton at Mexican Grand Prix Formula One F1 Mercedes

"It's been a good day", said Hamilton.

Having lost the World title to Lewis Hamilton last time out in Mexico, Vettel is now locked in a battle with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas over second place in the standings. "As a team we really want to finish one and two".

"I had messages from so many people", he added.

"We'll see what we get tomorrow but I think we can fine-tune the balance which will help us".

Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull is too far behind in fourth place to catch either.

Hamilton, who accused Renault's Nico Hulkenberg over the radio of unsafe driving in forcing him wide onto the runoff in the morning, was half a second faster than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen before lunch.

"As I said before, my mentality for the last two races is to win - and I have not been told otherwise".

Gasly managed just one timed lap, and five in total, before he was sidelined by another MGU-H issue, while Hartley suffered an on-track engine failure during the early stages of the session.

"So we're running super-safe and conservative in these sessions, which explains quite a bit of the deficit to the Mercedes at the moment".

Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas is third overall and only 15 points behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, a four-times victor this year, with Mercedes determined to finish one-two for the fourth season in a row.

"There are still two races to go".

"I think overall it's pretty straightforward: Mercedes seems to be the quickest and then it's pretty close between Red Bull and us", he said.

Mercedes have clinched the constructors' championship for a fourth successive year and experimented with processes and parts for 2018. Will team orders come into effect at Mercedes?

"The last four races we've had the quickest vehicle on a Sunday", said Red Bull boss Christian Horner after Max Verstappen won in Mexico and Hamilton finished ninth to take the title. Vettel had a harmless spin early in the session, possibly on oil laid by Brendon Hartley.

British driver George Russell, the 19-year-old GP3 champion, made his grand prix weekend debut with Force India and was an impressive 12th fastest at an unfamiliar circuit and in a auto he had not driven before.

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