until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

French GP FP1: Everything you need to know

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes 1-2 in the opening practice session ahead of the French Grand Prix, despite damaging his car over the kerbs early in the session.

Key moments:

> Bottas leads a Mercedes 1-2, but damages car running wide at Turn 2
> Verstappen runs wide in final sector while on his quickest lap
> Red Bulls third and fourth quickest, Ocon fifth for Alpine
> Spins also for Sainz, Vettel and Schumacher

Bottas – needing a good weekend after back-to-back non-scores at Monaco and Baku – damaged his car running wide at Turn 2 just over 20 minutes into the session.

The team’s sporting director Ron Meadows aired his frustration to FIA F1 race director Michael Masi, believing running wide at Turn 2 should not be causing that much damage to the car.

Bottas returned to the track to set a 1m33.448s to top the session. It was 0.335s faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

There’s a new suite of Honda power unit components in the back of the Red Bull and AlphaTauri cars this weekend, bringing them level with the Mercedes- and Ferrari-powered cars that changed their engines last time out in Baku.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lost his chance to displace the Mercedes duo at the top of the timesheets when he ran wide in the final sector while on a flying lap.

He finished the session third-fastest in 0.432s slower than Bottas, while his team-mate Sergio Perez was a further three tenths adrift but set his fastest lap on the hard tyres.

It’s not just the Honda-powered cars with brand new power unit components, as Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso have new Renault engines.

Ocon was an impressive fifth-fastest, ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and his team-mate Alonso.

The top 10 was completed by the lead AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris (McLaren) and Yuki Tsunoda.

Carlos Sainz was another to fall victim to Turn 2, as the Ferrari driver spun on the exit of the corner just after halfway through the session.

He got back onto the track, but he couldn’t complete any more running of that set of tyres.

His Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc – like Sainz without the Mission Winnow logos this weekend – reported balance issues and could only manage the 11th-fastest time.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, fresh from earning his maiden podium with the team in Baku, went backwards into the barriers at Turn 11. He continued but ended up down in 15th in the session.

Mick Schumacher spun his Haas into the Turn 13 barriers on his first out-lap from the pits at the start of the 60-minute session.

He recovered back to the pits and ended FP1 with the 19th-fastest time, one place behind of his team-mate Nikita Mazepin.

F2 driver Roy Nissany made his second practice appearance of the season, deputising for George Russell. He registered the slowest time, over two seconds adrift of Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m33.448s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.783s +0.335s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m33.88s +0.432s
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 1m34.193s +0.745s
5 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m34.329s +0.881s
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.644s +1.196s
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m34.693s +1.245s
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m34.699s +1.251s
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.707s +1.259s
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1m34.847s +1.399s
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m34.95s +1.502s
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m35.116s +1.668s
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m35.135s +1.687s
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m35.275s +1.827s
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m35.289s +1.841s
16 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m35.342s +1.894s
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m35.612s +2.164s
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1m36.651s +3.203s
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m37.329s +3.881s
20 Roy Nissany Williams-Mercedes 1m37.881s +4.433s
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