FP1: Bottas leads another Mercedes one-two in first practice

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Mercedes was seemingly able to carry over its dominant form from the first rounds of the championship at Barcelona as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the opening session for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were quick to complete a few installation laps after the team reverted to its high-downforce setup following its aggressive low-downforce package used at Silverstone.

Drivers chose different compounds for their first runs with many teams splitting the tyre strategy between their drivers. Following the first laps, Valtteri Bottas led the way with the yellow-walled medium compound while Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and the Ferrari duo were using the hard rubber.

Hamilton was the last top driver to join the action at Barcelona. The Briton used the hard compound for his first run which took a bit of a time to warm up properly. Finding the rhythm on the C1 compound, the championship leader flew to the top of the time sheets on his seventh lap with a time of 1m18.516.

Following minor technical issues with his car, Daniil Kvyat became the last driver to post a timed lap. The Russian was quick from the word go on the soft compound.

Following a brief pause on the track, of the top teams, Mercedes became the first team to reappear on the circuit on fresh tyres with Bottas and Hamilton using the red-walled Pirelli C3 compounds. The Finn went fastest by clocking a time of 1m16.785. His team-mate failed to go any quicker, but his best time was just 39 thousands of a second shy of the Finn’s time.

Max Verstappen went on to set the third fastest time, but he was almost a second slower than the utterly dominant Mercedes drivers. After suffering badly at Barcelona during the pre-season testing, Ferrari drivers set the fourth and fifth fastest time with Vettel seemingly driving more comfortably in his SF1000 than he did it at Silverstone. The German received a fresh chassis for this weekend, but he is believed to have regained his confidence thanks to Ferrari’s high-downforce setup.

In the last fifteen minutes of the session, both Mercedes drivers were completing a high-fuel run on the soft compound, assessing the balance of their W11 for the Sunday’s race. Verstappen, Leclerc and Vettel also rejoined the track for a late short race simulation.

Roy Nissany ended his first FP1 outing with Williams in 20th position, but he was only three tenths of a second slower than Nicholas Latifi.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:16.78533
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:16.824+0.039s29
333Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:17.724+0.939s26
416Charles LeclercFERRARI1:17.970+1.185s27
55Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:17.981+1.196s27
68Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:18.291+1.506s29
711Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:18.471+1.686s31
823Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:18.606+1.821s27
920Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:18.620+1.835s28
1018Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:18.643+1.858s31
1155Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:18.733+1.948s33
1231Esteban OconRENAULT1:18.736+1.951s31
134Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:18.744+1.959s32
1410Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:18.888+2.103s26
1599Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:18.917+2.132s24
167Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:18.981+2.196s24
1726Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA1:19.145+2.360s21
183Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:19.230+2.445s31
196Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:20.334+3.549s30
2040Roy NissanyWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:20.664+3.879s25