The first time back at the wheel of his Mercedes after being crowned World Champion ended up in another session topping performance for Lewis Hamilton. He ended up nearly half a second faster than Valtteri Bottas as Sergio Perez was the closest challenger of the Mercedes duo.
This first practice was the first where teams could test Pirelli's 2021 prototype tyres, but they were not required to use them yet. Second practice however mandates a minimum of 6 laps for all drivers, enabling Pirelli to gather sufficient data.
Lewis Hamilton went fastest early on, seemingly untroubled by the dust that was covering the track. After a short stint on the prototype tyres, he improved on the medium compound tyres. Valtteri Bottas similarly set his best time on the medium compound Pirellis.
While there isn't anything left to fight for in the championship for Mercedes, the same can't be said for the midfield teams, and all eyes will be on them in the coming three race weekends, as they look set for a fierce battle for third in the Constructors' Championship.
Sergio Perez ended up a second down on the leading Mercedes, but the best times of the cars behind him on the timing sheet were a close match, with Sainz, Gasly, Verstappen, Albon, Ocon and Stroll all within 4 tenths.
The session also saw some test drivers come into action. At Alfa Romeo, Robert Kubica drove Kimi Raikkonen's car and proved two tenths faster than regular Giovinazzi.
At Williams, Roy Nissani took the wheel of George Russell's car, but he was unable to beat his team mate, leaving him last. The Israeli F2 driver concentrated on "rear-wing performance as well as looking at some development items". Both Williams weren't fast however, with Latifi also more than 3.4s down on Hamilton, and more than a full second slower than 18th placed Lando Norris.
Running continues at 18:00 local time for FP2.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:29.033||-||40|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:29.482||+0.449s||41|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:30.000||+0.967s||31|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||1:30.018||+0.985s||31|
|5||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||1:30.049||+1.016s||34|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:30.294||+1.261s||18|
|7||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:30.302||+1.269s||34|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:30.426||+1.393s||30|
|13||88||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:30.732||+1.699s||24|
|14||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:30.832||+1.799s||28|
|15||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:30.854||+1.821s||29|
|16||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:30.896||+1.863s||27|
|17||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||1:31.020||+1.987s||37|
|18||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:31.392||+2.359s||27|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:32.472||+3.439s||29|
|20||40||Roy Nissany||Williams Mercedes||1:32.801||+3.768s||27|