Spanish Grand Prix FP1: Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton top the charts

At the FP1 in Barcelona, Valtteri Bottas went fastest followed by Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas

In a new fresh day at Barcelona, the story remained the same. The trio of Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen topped the Friday practice session. Bottas set a banker time of 1 min 18.504 secs on the soft tyres.

The pre-season testing for the 2021 season was held in Bahrain. As Barcelona didn’t host pre-season testing for the first time since 2014, drivers were keen to test the track with the 2021 cars.

Most of the drivers started the session on hards as usual and switched to softs mid way through the session. Lewis Hamilton set a benchmark time of 1 min 18.627 secs right away before Bottas and Verstappen set better times.

Verstappen split the Mercedes with two minutes remaining, ending up just 0.033s off Bottas’s time with a late switch to soft tyres. Briton Lando Norris took P4 for McLaren, his team mate Daniel Ricciardo 14th. Norris was followed by the Ferraris: Spaniard Carlos Sainz in P6 and Charles Leclerc ahead in P5. 

Sergio Perez finishes a low-key P9

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez seemed to be struggling around turn 10 and didn’t had a good session. He finished P9 overall with a time of 1 min 19.349 secs, eight tenths of teammate Verstappen.

Although on his last flying lap, Perez was just 4 tenths behind Verstappen on the delta before getting held up by Ricciardo in the final chicane. The Mexican was furious about the same.

Home favourite Fernando Alonso took 15th overall with a rather strange strategy, starting on softs and finishing on hards. Robert Kubica returned to drive FP1 for Alfa Romeo – in place of Kimi Raikkonen – and brought out the session’s only red flag at the re-profiled Turn 10.

Interestingly, Williams test driver, Roy Nissany topped the speed charts with the peak speed of 330.4 km/h.

Also read: “Carlos Sainz deserves the steering wheel he has,” says Sebastian Vettel