Valtteri Bottas comfortably led a Mercedes 1-2 during an error-strewn opening practice session for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, as the Finnish driver set a sequence of quick times on Pirelli’s Soft compound tyre during the opening 90-minute session, chipping away at his benchmark on several occasions. Bottas wound up with a time of 1:18.148, over a second faster than the pole time set by Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at last year’s event.
Hamilton wound up second, 0.849s behind Bottas, while Sebastian Vettel was the only other driver to get within a second of Bottas’ time, having run the Supersoft tyres. Bottas and Sebastian Vettel were two of several drivers to get caught out by the conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, despite the field’s experience at the sport’s preferred testing venue. Bottas spun through Turn 10 early on while Sebastian looped his Ferrari around Turn 13 – one of several drivers to struggle at the corner, which marks the downhill entry to the chicane complex. Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Marcus Ericsson all went wide while the returning Robert Kubica spun on his first Supersoft hot lap.
The Ferrari duo was thus behind the two Silver Arrows, with Sebastian Vettel heading his teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Sebastian Vettel enters the weekend with the aim of gaining back the lead in the driver’s championship, which he lost last time out in Baku. The Maranello team has unveiled the most creative use of Formula One’s Halo device so far, having mounted its rear-view mirrors to the side of the structure, as the Spanish Grand Prix is traditionally the first opportunity for Formula One’s European-based teams to introduce significant upgrades after four races in the southern hemisphere. Much of the intrigue so far this week has been around Ferrari’s decision to place its mirrors on the side of the Halo along with an extra winglet.
Spain – Practice 1
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:19.187||1.039||26|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:19.871||1.723||11|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:20.508||2.360||29|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:20.924||2.776||36|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:21.144||2.996||27|
|18||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:21.373||3.225||28|