Felipe Massa set the pace in the first practice session of the last grand prix weekend of the season, edging out championship rival Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos.
On his home circuit, the Ferrari driver set a fastest lap time of one minute 12.305 seconds, which was 0.190 seconds faster than Hamilton’s best effort.
However, the Briton goes into the season finale knowing that the title is in his hands, as if he finishes fifth or above in the race on Sunday he is guaranteed overall victory regardless of what Massa does on the day.
Hamilton had set the early pace and looked odds on to have posted the morning’s fastest time when rain started to fall, but Massa used his home advantage to the full and went quicker still despite the slippery conditions.
Hamilton did go out for a banzai effort towards the end, but could only match his earlier time.
The second practice session of the day gets underway at 16:00 GMT, and qualifying will be held tomorrow (Saturday) at 16:00 GMT.
If Hamilton wins, he will be Formula One’s youngest ever world champion.