Bottas kicks off his Portimao weekend in perfect style

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Portugal, Autódromo Internacional do Algarvept

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas ended up narrowly fastest in the first session of the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, beating the Imola race winner Max Verstappen. Williams driver George Russell finished in a sensational P7 in the opening practice.

Following his heavy shunt at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas bounced back in perfect style to top the opening session for the Portuguese Grand Prix. The Nastola-born Mercedes driver used the soft tyres to set the benchmark time with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. His team mate Lewis Hamilton ended up fifth fastest with three tenths of a second adrift the best time.

Red Bull demonstrated the strength of their upgraded car with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finishing second and third respectively. The Mexican’s RB16 was equipped with a huge aero rake with which the team evaluated the new parts.


Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc showed promising pace once again, indicating that the Scuderia’s 2021 F1 car is a definite step in terms of performance compared to its predecessor. The Monegasque was 0.236 thousands of a second slower than the benchmark time. His team mate Carlos Sainz dictated good pace early on in the session, but he was unable to put a good lap together on the fresh tyres.

George Russell finished a surprise seventh for Williams while his team mate Nicholas Latifi only secured the 19th fastest time.

2020 Formula 2 Championship runner-up Callum Ilott replaced Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo for FP1. Ilott, who is now Alfa Romeo's official reserve driver, finished 17th in his FP1 debut. The Briton was only four tenths of a second slower than Alfa Romeo’s Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen, who ended up 15th fastest on the circuit where he earned huge attention in last year’s inaugural Portimao race thanks to his eye-catching start.

FP2 follows at 1500 local time with driver getting another 60-minute session to get acquainted with the undulating and challenging Portmao race track.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:19.64831
233Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:19.673+0.025s23
311Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA1:19.846+0.198s22
416Charles LeclercFERRARI1:19.884+0.236s27
544Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:19.967+0.319s32
610Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:20.444+0.796s31
763George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:20.529+0.881s29
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:20.635+0.987s26
955Carlos SainzFERRARI1:20.680+1.032s27
1031Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:20.800+1.152s27
1118Lance StrollASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1:20.894+1.246s29
123Daniel RicciardoMCLAREN MERCEDES1:20.995+1.347s31
1322Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA1:21.090+1.442s28
1414Fernando AlonsoALPINE RENAULT1:21.303+1.655s31
157Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:21.381+1.733s25
165Sebastian VettelASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1:21.405+1.757s31
1798Callum IlottALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:21.806+2.158s21
1847Mick SchumacherHAAS FERRARI1:21.939+2.291s29
196Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:22.293+2.645s29
209Nikita MazepinHAAS FERRARI1:24.224+4.576s29