It was a rather odd practice session at the tricky altitude circuit around Portimao. The cars as always, started on the hard compound of tyres at the beginning and ended with mediums or softs.
Valterri Bottas equipped his W12 with soft tyres with 20 minutes remaining to set the fastest lap of the session at 1 min 19.648 secs. Red Bull lead, Max Verstappen was caught saying on the radio at the end that he has developed a flat spot on his tyre and said his car was “impossible to drive” thanks to the vibrations. But Max still managed to finish P2, just 0.025 secs off Bottas.
Max’s teammate, Sergio Perez also had a good outing in FP1. He ran just 21 laps and managed a 1 min 19.846 secs. He also ran an aero rake early in the session – possibly testing the team’s new parts.
Lewis Hamilton finishes 5th in FP1, three tenths off his team-mate
7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished P5 in FP1, three tenths off his teammate and behind the two Red Bulls and Charles Leclerc. Only about 0.08 secs separated Hamilton and Leclerc, both on the soft tyre compound.
Although the surprise of the session came from Williams’ George Russell, who finished 7th in a backmarker car. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly finished sixth beating eighth-place Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. Imola’s star Lando Norris finished 9th and Esteban Ocon wrapped up the Top 10.
Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso was the only driver to begin the session on softs he unusually set his fastest lap on hard tyres to go 14th overall, behind AlphaTauri’s rookie Yuki Tsunoda. 2020 Formula 2 Championship runner-up Callum Ilott replaced Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo for FP1. Ilott, who is now Alfa Romeo’s official reserve driver, finished 17th in his FP1 debut.