Lewis Hamilton set pace ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes leading first and second practice at the Interlagos circuit. Vettel fourth a further 0.132secs adrift, having had a spin in first practice. The German had been a lot closer to Hamilton on race pace, but the Brit was much faster when he switched to the ‘soft’ tyre.
Although the Ferrari man predict a tight battle with Red Bull this weekend, Vettel feels it is doubtful that the Italian squad will be able to challenge Silver Arrows for pole position or victory.
“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.
“I think the track was in pretty good shape and I think car-wise we can fine tune the balance and that should help us get the pace up for qualifying and the race.”
After losing the title in Mexico, Vettel said he enjoyed getting back in the car in Brazil on Friday.
“I like driving, so it was nice. We did a lot of laps today. It’s more quiet on-track than off-track, so I enjoyed that!
“But as I said, it will be difficult to match Mercedes — I think they’re a bit ahead, both of them. They look quick in all conditions, all tyres. So we’ll see.”