Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, of Finland, steers his vehicle during the first free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.
The Englishman was quickest in both practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday, keeping his word not to be distracted in the second-to-last race of the season.
Relishing the ability to pile the pressure onto his fellow drivers, Hamilton shows no sign of letting up as he posted the fastest lap in the first practice session during the Brazilian Grand Prix. It's more quiet on-track than off-track, so I enjoyed that! In both sessions he was followed by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. "I think we can fine-tune the balance and that should help us", Vettel said.
"It's been a good day", said Hamilton.
Vettel, who led the majority of this year's championship battle before his charge imploded in the Far East, faces a battle to finish the season as best of the rest behind Hamilton with Bottas now breathing down his neck.
Hamilton, who accused Renault's Nico Hulkenberg over the radio of risky driving in forcing him wide onto the runoff in the morning, was half a second faster than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen before lunch.
Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth fastest, though is set to be handed a 10-place grid penalty after taking on a new MGU-H, his eighth of the campaign.
His 20-year-old Dutch team mate Max Verstappen, victor of two of the last four races, was fourth and fifth on the respective timesheets.
"Mercedes looked very strong so I think they are a bit ahead, both of them", said Vettel, who has won four times this year.
Hamilton became the most successful British driver of all-time and levelled up with Sebastian Vettel by clinching a fourth trophy with two races to spare.
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 vehicle he had not driven before.