Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap of the first practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, beating Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by 0.033s, with Lewis Hamilton third in the other Mercedes.
In the first part of the session, Lewis Hamilton initially led the way on hard tyres with a lap of 1:21.014s before Verstappen eclipsed that with a lap of 1:20.405s set on the same compound. The Dutchman was then edged out of P1 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who became the first man to dip below the 1m20s mark with a lap of 1:19.950.
The local hero set the lap required soft tyres to reach the time, however, and he was then bumped out of P1 by Hamilton who had continued his hard tyre run and set a time of 1:19.675s.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel had a turn at the top midway through the session with a lap of 1:19.234 as the majority of the pack made the switch to soft tyres.
Hamilton’s first lap on the red-banded rubber took him back to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1m18.808s, while team-mate Bottas slotted into P2. The Finn’s time was set at the second attempt after he backed out of his first run after going wide in Turn 3. Hamilton soon went quicker again though with a lap of 1:18.627s.
Bottas found more time on his next run, though and he set the session’s best time at 1:18.504.
The session was red flagged with 15-minutes left on the clock when Alfa Romeo reserve Robert Kubica lost the rear of his car going through the re-profiled Turn 10 and ended up beached in the gravel.
The action resumed with just under 10 minutes to go and it was then that Red Bull’s drivers made their first appearance on softs tyres.
Sergio Pérez failed to match the pace at the head of the order and eventually finished ninth in the session but Verstappen was instantly on the pace and finished just 0.033s behind Bottas after two small errors in the final sector.
Lando Norris ended the session in fourth place and the McLaren driver was followed by the Ferrari cars of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Pierre Gasly was seventh for AlphaTauri ahead of Vettel and Pérez and Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10.
2021 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 25 1:18.504
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 19 1:18.537 0.033
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22 1:18.627 0.123
4 Lando Norris McLaren 24 1:18.944 0.440
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 25 1:18.996 0.492
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 22 1:19.020 0.516
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 26 1:19.062 0.558
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 24 1:19.234 0.730
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 17 1:19.349 0.845
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 25 1:19.429 0.925
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 1:19.669 1.165
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine 25 1:19.681 1.177
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 23 1:19.694 1.190
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 24 1:19.732 1.228
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine 25 1:19.950 1.446
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams 25 1:20.270 1.766
17 Roy Nissany Williams 23 1:20.700 2.196
18 Mick Schumacher Haas 23 1:20.766 2.262
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 13 1:21.887 3.383
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 22 1:21.976 3.472