Portuguese Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was the fastest man in opening practice ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Finn set the benchmark time of a 1:19.648s, just 0.025s ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Verstappen locked up and a flat spot on his tyre caused “impossible to drive” vibrations – but the Dutchman managed to set a competitive laptime to finish in second.
His main championship rival, Lewis Hamilton, was down in fifth, some 0.3s off his teammate’s time using on the same soft compound tyres.
Sergio Perez had a good day in the upgraded RBR16B, slotting his Red Bull into third, just two tenths off Bottas’s benchmark.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was a further half tenth behind in third, ahead of reigning World Champion Hamilton, and demonstrating the Scuderia’s improved pace.
Pierre Gasly continued to show Alpha Tauri’s impressive form finishing in sixth, whilst George Russel raised some eyebrows setting the seventh fastest laptime in his Williams.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, and podium finisher last time out at Imola, finished in eighth ahead of ex-teammate and now Ferrari man Carlos Sainz. Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten for Alpine.
Lance Stroll was the best of the Aston Martin cars in 11th, whilst Daniel Ricciardo, who is still getting to grips with his McLaren was down in 12th. The Australian was just half a tenth down on his British teammate.
Yuki Tsunoda finished in 13th for Alpha Tauri, whilst two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso managed 14th place.
It seemed like the previous World Champions were struggling in the low-grip conditions with Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo, and Sebastian Vettel in the sister Aston Martin finishing in 15th and 16th place.
Callum Ilott, who is now Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver, had a good day on his debut finishing in 17th. The Ferrari academy driver was just four tenths shy of his more experienced teammate.
Mick Schumacher in his Haas finished down in 18th, whilst Williams driver Nicholas Latifi finished in 19th. Nikita Mazepin finished 20th.