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.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:19.673||+0.025s||23|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:19.846||+0.198s||22|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:20.444||+0.796s||31|
|7||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:20.529||+0.881s||29|
|8||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:20.635||+0.987s||26|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||1:20.800||+1.152s||27|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:20.894||+1.246s||29|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:20.995||+1.347s||31|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:21.090||+1.442s||28|
|14||14||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT||1:21.303||+1.655s||31|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:21.381||+1.733s||25|
|16||5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:21.405||+1.757s||31|
|17||98||Callum Ilott||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:21.806||+2.158s||21|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||1:21.939||+2.291s||29|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:22.293||+2.645s||29|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||1:24.224||+4.576s||29|