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Formula 1

What happened in Spanish Grand Prix FP1

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas headed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the opening practice session of Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix weekend at Barcelona.


– Bottas leads Verstappen and Hamilton

– Norris best of the rest and well clear of Ricciardo

– Kubica causes red flag at new Turn 10

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton led the way on hards in the early stages of the session, and reclaimed the top spot immediately as he returned to the track on fresh softs just around the half-hour mark, having been usurped by the soft-shod Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel moments earlier.

Hamilton then found a couple of tenths on his next attempt, but was overhauled by team-mate Bottas before the session was red-flagged.

Alfa Romeo reserve Robert Kubica was the culprit, having spun going through the reprofiled Turn 10 and got the C41, normally driven by Kimi Raikkonen, stuck in the gravel.

By the time the red flag cleared, Mercedes switched to long runs, but Red Bull only just began its own soft-tyre runs.

Yet Verstappen’s first push lap on the red-walled tyre was compromised by traffic in the form of Lance Stroll, and having backed out of it and commenced another flyer on tyres that were “a little hot”, he came up 0.033s short of Bottas’s time.

He tried again at the chequered flag but was more than a tenth off despite a session-best final sector, allowing Bottas – who himself nearly ploughed into the back of a slowing Ferrari at the chicane in the final minutes – to keep first place.

Behind Hamilton in third, Lando Norris was best of the rest for McLaren, while Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top six for Ferrari but were the only drivers in the top 10 to set their best times on mediums not softs.

Pierre Gasly led AlphaTauri’s efforts in seventh, with Vettel in eighth and team-mate Lance Stroll in 10th.

Between them was Sergio Perez, nine tenths down on Red Bull team-mate Verstappen but compromised by the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo on a late push lap.

Ricciardo himself was eight tenths off Norris in 14th. This was one place ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, but the Spaniard inverted the usual FP1 programme – being the only driver to run softs rather than hards early on – and was shuffled down the order after sitting as high as second in the initial stages.

While Haas driver Mick Schumacher slotted in between the FP1-only duo of Williams driver Roy Nissany and Kubica, team-mate Nikita Mazepin was last after an eventful start to the session.

Mazepin spun when getting on the throttle through the Turn 7-8 kink and had to get himself out of the gravel. He then irked Leclerc by not getting out of the way quickly enough for the Ferrari driver’s liking at Turn 3, prompting Leclerc to scathingly quip “Mazepin will never change” on team radio.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m18.504s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m18.537s +0.033s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.627s +0.123s
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m18.944s +0.44s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m18.996s +0.492s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m19.02s +0.516s
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m19.062s +0.558s
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m19.234s +0.73s
9 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 1m19.349s +0.845s
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m19.429s +0.925s
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1m19.669s +1.165s
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m19.681s +1.177s
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m19.694s +1.19s
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m19.732s +1.228s
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m19.95s +1.446s
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m20.27s +1.766s
17 Roy Nissany Williams-Mercedes 1m20.7s +2.196s
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m20.766s +2.262s
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m21.887s +3.383s
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1m21.976s +3.472s
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