The first free practice session for the Portuguese Grand Prix saw Mercedes dominate the action with Valtteri Bottas ending up fastest ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Drivers were keen to get their first taste of the Portimao track that is widely regarded as one of the best tracks in Europe due to its flowing and undulating nature. It is often referred to as the biggest rollercoaster track thanks to constant changes of uphill and downhill sections and elongated corners.
The first minutes saw Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen take it to the track with the duo adamant to explore the track that Formula One has only visited once during the 2009 pre-season testing. Despite constantly improving and avoiding any mistakes, Carlos Sainz was complaining about the lack of grip, claiming that the track is like a Tokyo Drift circuit.
Max Verstappen also fell victim to the green track which was also down to the fact that it has just been resurfaced. The Dutchman had an early spin, but he could continue without disrupting his programme set for the first part of the session.
Every driver opted for the C1 Hard compound for the first stint to try to have a consistent tyre behaviour while trying to explore the track, eliminating the factor of the higher tyre wear shown by the softer compounds. During the first part of the session, the two Mercedes and Ferrari drivers and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly dominated the proceedings while Carlos Sainz could also stay at the sharp end of the field with his best lap time set at the start of the session on a less grippy track.
While some of the drivers switched to the Yellow Medium C2 compound for their second stint, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers stayed with the hardest boots for the rest of the session.
In the end, Mercedes drivers came out on top with Valtteri Bottas posting the fastest time with a 1m18.410, beating his teammate Lewis Hamilton by just over three tenths of a second. Max Verstappen ended up third fastest, followed by Charles Leclerc who tried out his upgraded Ferrari that features a completely redesigned diffuser and floor. The biggest surprise was Kimi Räikkönen's performance who finished eighth fastest with his Alfa Romeo.
Every driver tried to complete as many laps as possible to get acquainted with the exciting, but rather tricky and difficult layout of the 4.6km circuit that is located to the west of Lisbon. It was Carlos Sainz to complete the highest number of laps with 42 laps. Towards the end of the session, most of the drivers were affected by graining in some degree, indicating that it will be one of the main tasks for the teams' and Pirelli's engineer to sort out for the race.
|3||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:19.191||+0.781s||32|
|5||23||Alexander Albon||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:19.365||+0.955s||34|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||MCLAREN RENAULT||1:19.441||+1.031s||42|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||1:19.907||+1.497s||31|
|8||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:19.954||+1.544s||35|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:20.124||+1.714s||29|
|12||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN RENAULT||1:20.207||+1.797s||29|
|13||26||Daniil Kvyat||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:20.278||+1.868s||32|
|14||20||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||1:20.846||+2.436s||28|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||1:20.954||+2.544s||32|
|16||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:21.009||+2.599s||35|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||1:21.169||+2.759s||31|
|18||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:21.374||+2.964s||31|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:22.054||+3.644s||34|