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Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 19:51 UK

Brazilian GP practice as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1939: Lovely... I very much hope to see you back here tomorrow at 1430 BST ahead of final practice and the thrills and spills of what could be a wet qualifying session. Have a magnificent Friday night.

From anon via text on 81111: "Fernando's the best!"

1932: The third title contender, Sebastian Vettel, is seventh. Lewis Hamilton is 10th. Bad times for Ferrari. Kimi is 18th, Fisi 20th.

1931: No... Fernando Alonso's 1:12.314 puts him in P1, ahead of Sebastien Buemi, Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli. Yellow flag at the end of the session. No idea why.

Chequered flag
1930: Out comes the black and white flag. Can anyone beat Nando?

1929: Seconds remaining now and Fernando Alonso goes quickest... Rubens Barrichello looks like challenging as he purples the first sector, but loses time in the middle and ends up third.

1926: Three minutes remaining and everyone (except Fisi) is on the track.

1923: Not much to tell you. No one is improving their times on the damp-ish, cold-ish track. I'll tell you this instead: Lewis Hamilton made his long-awaited visit to Ayrton Senna's grave on Wednesday. "For me it was special," he said. "I'd wanted to do it for the last two years but I was being followed and all kinds. I wasn't (this time), I don't think I was at least."

1916: And just to complete Fisi's embarrassment, there is no moped available so he'll have to walk back to the pits. Rubens Barrichello stops at the end of the pit lane - and he blasts away. That's the way to do it.

BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "Fisichella stalled the car after trying a practice start. He was outside of the pit lane so that's why the team couldn't go and fetch him."

1911: Big cheers for Fisi as he takes his helmet off. He waves, albeit sheepishly. The Italian is propping up the leaderboard, while the Force Indias are seventh and 16th. Still Sebastien Buemi leading the way ahead of Jenson Button.

1908: Poor Fisi is now directing the steward pushing his car. Wonder what Luca Badoer is thinking? Fisi's back in the car now as the steward keeps on pushing. All most undignified.

1906: I've never known an emotion to fall on my head. Or a memory. Is it just me? The rain at Interlagos is more like a gentle sprinkle. Giancarlo Fisichella has stopped at the end of the pit lane... and now he's waving at the Toyota behind him to indicate he isn't doing it deliberately.

It's raining
1901: Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like a new emotion.

1858: Someone's just switched off Maurice Hamilton mid-sentence. Well, his microphone, anyway. On the track, drivers one through 10 are into the 1:12s. Buemi from Button from Webber.

1856: Concerned face from Ross Brawn as he presses his headphones to his ears. Jenson Button still lying second quickest after putting in a mammoth 30 laps, with Rubens Barrichello in 14th.

1852: Not great news if you're a Jenson Button fan. He's told race engineer Andrew Shovlin he's suddenly having trouble getting heat into his tyres. He's back in the pits now.

Maurice Hamilton on BBC commentary: "Kimi Raikkonen is having a brilliant end to the season, but don't you think it's significant he's perked himself up since Felipe Massa has been off the scene? He's been a different guy."

1842: Patience, James (see below), he's only just found out where the pedals are. Fisi down in 13th at the moment, with Raikkonen ninth. A change at the top: Sebastien Buemi now quickest.

Text in your views on 81111
From James in Aberdare via text on 81111: "Can someone show Fizzy how to use Kers? He just did a lap without using it."

1839: McLaren have told Lewis Hamilton to save some more of his Kers boost for turn 12. Still Jenson Button at the top, ahead of Webber, Buemi, Vettel, Kovalainen, Trulli.

BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "Looks like there's quite a lot of graining on Sebastian Vettel's optimum tyres."

1836: Apparently, Felipe Massa will be waving the chequered flag on Sunday. Not sure how much he'll enjoy that at his favourite circuit. He will also be at the press conference today, so it'll be interesting to hear if he's got any more to say on his new Ferrari team-mate.

From RayInTorontoCan on 606: "Webber and Button have pounded out five of the fastest laps of the day. The Brawn isn't too far off the Red Bull's pace and is looking like it might have the measure of the Kers cars as well."

1828: Jarno Trulli gets his braking wrong at turn one and goes for a bumpy ride on the grass. The Red Bulls are looking very strong again: Webber second, Vettel fourth. The Toro Rossos are third and eighth - but can they stay on the track this weekend?

1825: For the first time today, Jenson Button sits in P1 with a 1:12.969. Despite the understeer and oversteer. Rubens Barrichello is only 11th, but has done almost half the amount of laps.

1823: Not sure what's up with Renault. Neither of their drivers have bothered the timesheets yet. Only Sebastien Buemi and Sebastian Vettel are in the 1:12s. Jenson Button now up to fourth quickest.

1818: Jenson Button running fifth fastest at the moment, but he's not an entirely happy camper. "Obviously there is a problem," he tells his Brawn team. "But it's not like it's just oversteer. I've got a lot of understeer as well."

1815: Jarno Trulli on a flier, going fastest in the first two sectors, but he messes up on the third and is only third quickest overall. Sebastien Buemi still sitting pretty.

1811: Toro Rosso neatly bookending the leaderboard, with Buemi top and Alguersuari bottom. Impressive time of 1:12.796 by Buemi, a tenth quicker than Seb Vettel.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Sao Paulo: "Re 1757: Oh OK Caroline, I'll stick my head out of BBC HQ for you and get some accurate weather information. It isn't raining - yet. There is definitely moisture in the air though and I'd be surprised if the grey clouds rolling overhead don't splash a few drops of rain down during this session."

1807: Times are tumbling... Vettel now top with a 1:12.923, followed by Kovalainen, Buemi, Webber, Rosberg, Trulli. Jenson Button down in 13th but only on lap three of his stint.

1804: Three cheers for Kamui Kobayashi, who is in P1 with a 1:14.516. Probably the only time he'll be in P1 this weekend... and as I type, he is usurped by Sebastian Vettel.

1800: Oops, I may have cursed it. As the green light goes on, some people in the crowd are putting their rain ponchos on. Cars rushing to get out on to the dry track. Another thumbs up from Felipe Massa as the camera is stuck in his face for the umpteenth time today.

1757: It looks overcast but dry as we count down to second practice. Again, it is difficult to tell from Shepherds Bush.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Sao Paulo: "I had my first taste of Brazilian fever during the lunch break in the paddock. The first glimpse of hometown boy Rubens Barrichello prompted cheers, shouting and positive heckling from the fans hanging over the balcony. Barrichello flashed a smile and gave them a thumbs up. It was all very jolly. Barrichello's doppleganger Dad - Rubens Sr - was sat a stool away from fellow Dad John Button, who as the cheers rang out for Rubens turned and smiled, saying 'Yeah, it's like this for Jenson at Silverstone.'"

1749: Now, I know we're creeping into Friday night territory in the UK, but don't pretend you're not gripped - GRIPPED - by the practice drama about to unfold in front of our very eyes. Let me know just how gripped on 81111, on 606 or on Twitter. Hey, we might even knock Jan Moir off the top of the trending topics.

BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "A quick update for you. The paddock is pretty busy today, or maybe it just looks busy as it so small and narrow. The atmosphere is fantastic even though it looks like there will be more rain this afternoon. Felipe Massa's family are all here, and Nelson Piquet Sr."

1740: Row two: (this one's loads better) Felipe Massa told Brazilian journos that future Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso must have known about the Renault 'crashgate' hoo-ha. Alonso said he was sure it was all a "misunderstanding". Now Rubens Barrichello has waded in. "Alonso and Massa will be a Latin partnership, and we will see a few more sparks than if they were two Finns," said the Brawn driver. "Felipe has shown the talent he has, and in my point of view he is better than Kimi. But if I had to choose the best driver nowadays, it's Alonso. Massa has already given everything and I think he can battle Alonso, but in my opinion it will be more difficult than with Kimi."

1736: Row one: This one is dull... double dull… but anyway, FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen has taken legal action to ensure next week's election is fair. The FIA says it is "at a loss to explain the purpose of this legal action" and says its procedures "provide more safeguards than those he is asking the court to impose." Vatanen is locking horns with Jean Todt for the right to succeed Max Mosley - and the Finn will be in your ears on BBC 5 Live at 1815 BST and then in front of your eyes on Inside F1 on the BBC News Channel at 1830 BST.

1730: Welcome back. I've got a couple of rows to update you on shortly. Oh yes.

1542: More from rainwatch at 1730 BST when we return for second practice, but before I go a little reminder: on Inside F1 tonight, FIA president hopeful Ari Vatanen will be trying to fill the sizeable shoes of the BBC Sport website's very own Andrew Benson. Good luck, Ari. That's on the BBC News Channel at 1835 BST and will be available on the website afterwards...

From Hammydigrassi on 606: "I'm really up for this weekend should be a cracker. I think Hamilton and Vettel are the ones to beat this weekend. I also secretly hope that Rosberg gets on the podium as well."

1533: Oh look, there's Felipe Massa again. He's watching the drivers practicing their starts. He looks a bit wistful.

1531: Jenson Button moves up from ninth to seventh with his last lap, splitting the two Williams. His closest rival Rubens Barrichello is up in second behind Mark Webber. Sebastian Vettel is third, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton, with Kazuki Nakajima sixth.

1530: Adrian Sutil has a wobble, losing his rear and running wide, but he manages to regain control of his Force India and returns to the track right in front of Jenson Button. Chequered flag is out.

Chequered flag
1526: Less than five minutes remaining... and Mark Webber is quickest with a 1:12.776 ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Then: Hamilton, Nakajima, Kovalainen, Barrichello. Button is ninth.

Brawn CEO Nick Fry: "I think Jenson's going very well at the moment. We've doing lots of aero testing this morning, on the front wing especially. The tyres look like they're holding up pretty well, so so far so good. Both drivers are pretty relaxed."

1520: Rain starting to fall again, and Fernando Alonso slithers off at the Senna S. He runs over the grass and rejoins.

1518: Oops. At turn eight, Sebastien Buemi just avoids contact with Tonio Liuzzi but not the tyre wall. His right rear wheel is hanging off after a big impact.

1514: Kazuki Nakajima is on super-softs and goes third with a 1:13.067. His Williams team-mate Nico Rosberg is on the harder compound and is two-tenths slower.

1508: What a sensational idea that is (see below). Top six: Vettel, Barrichello, Hamilton, Webber, Button, Buemi.

Get involved on 606
From F1Yorkshire on 606: "Re 1456: I love it when they hit those big advertising blocks. Looks amazing and doesn't really do any damage. They should wheel one out across the track instead of the chequered flag at the end of the race."

1505: And the BBC commentary team are discussing last night's shenanigans because there's absolutely nothing happening on the track... but wait, there's a green light and nine cars immediately stream out. 23 minutes remaining.

1501: The BBC commentary team report that those pesky Brazilians have been trying to put the willies up Jenson Button, as they did with Lewis Hamilton last year. Hamilton was handed a black cat, and a Vasco de Gama shirt (the team known for finishing second). Last night, a Brazilian TV show put a ladder in front of the entrance of the restaurant Button was heading for. "He did walk under it. I don't think Jenson is as superstitious as Vettel," reports Holly Samos.

1456: They're all piling out now - but not for long cos we've now got a red flag. Romain Grosjean is the latest man to run wide at turn 12, destroying one of those polystyrene braking boards in the manner of Jaime Alguersuari in Japan. Litter everywhere.

1453: Weather looks like it might be perking up a bit - although I admit, it's quite hard to tell from Shepherd's Bush. There's one brave soldier out on the track... it's Heikki Kovalainen, and he's on dry tyres.

1447: Jaime Alguersuari trundles out on some intermediates and trundles back in again. Oh, there's Adrian Sutil. His hair looks in excellent condition.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Sao Paulo: "Sebastian Vettel is a superstitious fellow; he always christens his chassis with a girl's name, stashes lucky coins in his boots and makes sure he climbs out of the car from the left."

Horner on Vettel: "Sebastian's just continued to get better and better throughout this season. He's learnt a lot from it. It's been a great campaign for him."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "Sebastian Vettel's team made a pact that they wouldn't shave after Singapore, and obviously he won in Japan so superstition comes into play. Personally, I think Sebastian is just trying to prove that he can grow a beard, having only started shaving about three months ago."

It's raining
1438: Heavier rain has all the cars scurrying back to the pits. Still the best part of an hour left in this session.

1437: As the rain continues to fall, Sebastian Vettel takes us into the 1:12s. Only eight-tenths separating the top five, which is completed by Barrichello, Hamilton, Webber and Button.

1435: A plea for the BBC commentary team of David Croft and Anthony Davidson: can you answer this question from young Reece? "Hi do u think lewis hamilton has lost it because my mum thinks he has because he has a girlfriend but i don't believe that because his car is not good next year he will be back at his best."

1433: Rubens Barrichello topples Lewis Hamilton with a 1:13.121. Webber third, Button fourth, then Vettel and Sutil. Very close though.

1430: Mark Webber almost collides with Kazuki Nakajima going into turn 12... The Aussie is putting in some quick ones out there, but he is just a touch slower than Lewis Hamilton, who sits top. All 20 drivers are now on the board.

1427: And a big F1 welcome to Kamui Kobayashi, who will compete in his first race this weekend after taking part in practice in Japan. The Japanese driver, in Timo Glock's Toyota, runs perilously wide at turn 11 but just about avoids contact...

1425: Lots of cars on the track now as they desperately try to get some dry laps in before the rain really starts coming down. Mark Webber posts a quickest time of 1:13.951.

From Eyes_Wide_Shut on 606: "The Red Bulls will be quick as will the McLaren, which will probably be the quickest car at Interlagos being good in the tighter stuff, KERS advantage and the best engine for the long drag up the hill. I think Barrichello may mix it up with them though which Button will not and so and five point gap isn't unrealistic."

1418: Still only two times on the board, and it has now started raining. "They've left it too late in my opinion," Anthony Davidson says of the other drivers.

BBC Sport's Lee McKenzie in Sao Paulo: "Great to be back here at Interlagos. Last year, it was the best sporting event I have ever been to - but could the drama of Lewis Hamilton's last-gasp clinching of the world title be superceded this weekend? This afternoon I am interviewing Felipe Massa, and I am really looking forward to it. I only have a few minutes with him but I am intrigued to see if he is just the same smiley, happy guy that we all enjoyed interviewing earlier on in the year. He has been quite outspoken recently so will ask him about that too."

1412: Jaime Alguersuari provides us with the first time of the day, a pedestrian 1:20.385, which is quickly beaten by the other Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi.

BBC Sport pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "McLaren are testing a new barge board. They're using invisible paint to test how it affects the aerodynamics, which only shows up under UV light."

1408: Dry for the first 20 minutes, according to BBC Sport's Holly Samos, so those drivers will be desperate to get on the track for some dry laps.

1404: I think this might turn into Felipe Massa-watch... He's now in the Ferrari garage, and gives his stand-in Giancarlo Fisichella a little hug as he strolls in.

From RayInTorontoCan on 606: "The in-form cars are Red Bull, Toyota and the KERS duo of McLaren then Ferrari. I don't see Rubens taking five more points from Button at Interlagos... unless there is a monsoon during a field spread situation as the cars pass pit entry."

1400: Green light is on at Interlagos.

1357: Well, there's a nice sight to kick off the weekend. Felipe Massa is in the paddock, and gives the camera a smile and thumbs up. Apparently, he's had some plastic surgery - and his breasts do look impressive. No, no, it was on his eye. Just on his eye.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Sao Paulo: "Bom dia Formula 1 fans. So we have arrived at Interlagos, home of the Brazilian Grand Prix; the race which has decided just who will be crowned champion for the last four seasons. The scene is set at the high-altitude circuit for yet another showdown between contenders Jenson Button, his Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. But so far all three drivers are taking a leaf out of the Brazilian book and are showing no signs of pressure. Day one and local boy Barrichello was wandering around the paddock with a trademark grin on his face as he showed his sister and nephew around while Button spent the evening dining with the British media. Vettel sporting a fuzzy beard - more on that later - was cracking jokes before taking things a little more seriously by embarking on his regular track walk to take a closer look at the challenges ahead. It's going to be a fascinating weekend."

From jcolls on Twitter: "I'm hoping that Rubens wins on his home ground with Vettel second keeping the title race alive. Button to win in the end!"

1351: Don't worry, I will repeat this ad nauseum (or until I actually understand it) but here's what Button has to do this weekend:
- finish third or better
- OR finish fourth if Barrichello doesn't win
- OR hope Vettel finishes lower than second and Barrichello finishes lower than fourth
- OR lose no more than four points to Barrichello

From BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "6am sunshine has been smothered by grey clouds and it's overcast at Interlagos. Rain is predicted - only thing is no-one knows when it'll fall."

1347: Seems like JB's already made his choice. "I don't want to just finish in the points - but there are situations I don't want to get myself into," he said yesterday.

Get involved on 606
From silverstone79 on 606: "If Jenson has a quiet weekend and does just enough to win it, people will say he is not being worthy of the champion. If Jenson goes for it and chucks it in the wall, people will say he was taking too much of a risk to win the championship. Tough choice either way. Good luck whichever route you choose."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi cracks a smile
1337: Interlagos has already witnessed one miracle this weekend as Kimi Raikkonen cracked a smile for the first time since 1992. But can Rubens Barrichello keep this title race alive with victory at his home Grand Prix? Or could Sebastian Vettel pull off the almost-impossible? I don't know. I'm just babbling. Why don't you tell me what will happen on 81111, on 606 or on Twitter.

1330: Olá! So, there's just one big question in Sao Paulo: can Jenson Button do it? Can he really throw this world championship away?

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see also
Brazil Grand Prix practice results
14 Sep 09 |  Results
Vatanen demands 'fair' election
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso on top as Brawn show pace
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brazilian GP practice photos
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button to take cautious approach
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button needs 'champion's drive'
06 Oct 09 |  Formula 1

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