Despite ruling out Red Bull's chances of victory on Thursday, Mexican Grand Prix victor Verstappen led the way on a 1m09.011s as he continued his run of impressive form having topped all three practice sessions at the last race.
Ferrari have earned six victories so far this season while Mercedes have earned nine, meaning that with two races remaining on the 2018 schedule, they can not possibly match, much less pass, the win total of the Brackley-based team.
Liberty are also keen to expand their portfolio in America by adding multiple races and remain hopeful of taking F1 to Miami within two seasons despite opposition from local groups.
Now Hamilton's fifth world title is secure, it has been suggested that he could give a victory back to Bottas if he finds himself leading his teammate on track.
"Red Bull's dominance in the last races was impressive, and I'm sure they'll be quick here this weekend as well, as will Ferrari".
"Even though they [USA and Mexico] have not been great races, I think they've been quite a steep learning curve for us".
'I am someone that really loves racing, but the season is long, it takes a big commitment from all of us, and it is a long time away from our families.
"It's not something I've asked Valtteri, if he'd want that, but I don't think he's going to want that". "I want to win".
"The turnaround is so short, you start preparing for your next season often as soon as the season is done", said the champion.
After winning four races in succession with Hamilton, Mercedes was soundly beaten in the United States Grand Prix and then produced its worst performance of the season in Mexico. Getting your mind turned.
Ferrari must better Mercedes' score in Brazil this weekend by 13 points or more if they want the title race to go to the season finale in Abu Dhabi. The team will be focused on maximising their points but Hamilton dismissed suggestions he would gift Bottas a victory at Interlagos.
"The team are not going to make that call", replied the Briton.
"His motivation was to win the fifth title and now, and for next year, it is a personal feeling about what he wants".
"So I don't think I'll be doing him any favours in the sense of giving him a win, I don't think he needs that - I think he thinks he can do it himself. You all know what my goal will be for this weekend, so it's going to be up to me and I need to perform at my best level to fight for the win".