Bottas goes quickest in opening practice – FP1 Report

Barcelona, Spain

Spanish Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas has gone quickest in opening practice at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya in Spain.

The Finnish driver clocked a 1:17.951 on the Soft compound tyre during Friday’s opening practice session in Barcelona. This placed him just 0.115 clear of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel on the same tyre compound.

Charles Leclerc was a further tenth behind, with a 1:18.172 on the Soft tyre, and he was almost half a second clear of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. The reigning Champion didn’t appear to be enjoying the Softs, as he radioed in after his flying lap on them to say that he felt the traction was poor and that the tyres were ‘already done’.

It was Romain Grosjean who was best of the rest. The Haas driver was P5 and almost a second behind the front, with the team bringing updates to this race to try rectifying their ongoing tyre issues. He was 0.3 clear of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

Haas underlined their potential with Kevin Magnussen by getting the Dane into P7. His best time of 1:19.180 was almost 0.3 behind his teammate, but a tenth clear of the lead Red Bull of Pierre Gasly. The other RBR of Max Verstappen spent the second half of the session up on stands in the garage with an apparent oil leak. He finished the session in P12.

Daniil Kvyat was P9 for Toro Rosso, with Nico Hulkenberg leading the Renault charge in P10. The pair were separated by 0.086 seconds.

Daniel Ricciardo was P11 in the second Renault – the French team are yet to fit their cars with their new Spec 2 power units, which are thus expected to be fitted for FP3 onwards as the team confirmed they intend to use it for the race weekend.

Lance Stroll finished P13 for Racing Point, although brought out the red flags right at the end of the session as he crashed at Turn 7. Touching the grass on approach to the corner, his correction meant he ran out of room before the gravel trap and he was powerless to stop before hitting the barrier. He was uninjured and clambered clear; his car should be OK to run in FP2.

Antonio Giovinazzi was the lead Alfa Romeo with P14, two seconds from the front, just 0.009 clear of Alex Albon’s Toro Rosso. Lando Norris was P16 in the second McLaren, with Sergio Perez P17 in the second Racing Point. Kimi Raikkonen was P18 for Alfa, with the two Williams drivers of Robert Kubica and George Russell rounding out the order.

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Thomas Maher

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