until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Bottas pips Hamilton in first Spanish GP practice

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Valtteri Bottas led a comfortable Mercedes 1-2 in first practice for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.

Bottas was 0.039s quicker than his championship-leading team-mate Hamilton, with the pair nearly a second ahead of the rest of the pack.

Despite running a set of hards to Bottas’s mediums in the first half of the session, Hamilton headed Bottas by half a tenth at the halfway mark, while sitting half a second clear of the next best hard-tyre runner – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix winner had slotted in fourth between the two soft-shod Racing Points, with Sergio Perez – returning from a two-race COVID-19 absence – lapping just over a tenth behind the two leading Mercedes on the first proper run of his F1 comeback session.

But the Silver Arrows found nearly two seconds once switching to fresh softs, and Bottas nudged ahead of Hamilton – who complained of “vibration in these front tyres” – with a 1m16.785s.

Their initial times were unchallenged for the rest of the session, with the biggest disruption then coming when Bottas had a run-in with a bird that kicked up a substantial amount of feathers.

Verstappen moved up to third-fastest in the latter half of the session, but was 0.939s slower than Bottas on the same tyre.

Alex Albon Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

His Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon looked set to lap close to Verstappen after two sectors of his first push lap on softs, only to suffer a loss of power and have to crawl to the pits. He would rejoin on the set later and used it to improve after all, but only placed eighth.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel made up the top five for Ferrari. Vettel, equipped with a new chassis after his Silverstone struggles, trailed Leclerc by seven tenths after the initial runs, but improved substantially to end up just 0.011s off his team-mate.

It was a standout session for Haas, whose drivers sat as high as second and fifth with under 40 minutes left to go, and wound up placing sixth and ninth, with Romain Grosjean three tenths ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

Racing Point, having started the session on softs, did its fastest laps with the mediums. Perez placed seventh and Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr is another driver using a new chassis this weekend, and led his team’s efforts in 11th, although the team’s runs on softs were only good enough for 11th and 13th – with a medium-shod Esteban Ocon splitting Sainz and Lando Norris.

Esteban Ocon Renault Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

Ocon and Renault team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were both in the top five on softs early on, but Ricciardo ran the hards in the latter stages of the session and didn’t improve, settling for 18th-fastest.

AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat was limited to a single installation lap on his first set of tyres, and ultimately placed 17th, three places behind team-mate Pierre Gasly, with the two Alfa Romeos slotting in between them.

Formula 2 racer Roy Nissany, son of sometime F1 tester Chanoch, replaced George Russell at Williams for FP1 for his grand prix weekend debut and was three tenths slower than Nicholas Latifi in 20th and last.

Nissany’s session was marked by a spin at the sharp Turn 10 left-hander, but he returned to the pits with no visible damage and rejoined the track for another few laps afterwards.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m16.785s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.824s +0.039s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m17.724s +0.939s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m17.97s +1.185s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m17.981s +1.196s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m18.291s +1.506s
7 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m18.471s +1.686s
8 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m18.606s +1.821s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m18.62s +1.835s
10 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m18.643s +1.858s
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m18.733s +1.948s
12 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m18.736s +1.951s
13 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m18.744s +1.959s
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m18.888s +2.103s
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m18.917s +2.132s
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m18.981s +2.196s
17 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m19.145s +2.36s
18 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m19.23s +2.445s
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m20.334s +3.549s
20 Roy Nissany Williams-Mercedes 1m20.664s +3.879s
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