Spanish GP F1 practice: Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Valtteri Bottas dominated the opening practice session for Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes established an early advantage over Ferrari

Spanish GP F1 practice: Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

The Finn lapped 0.849s faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with Sebastian Vettel another tenth back in the best Ferrari despite using supersoft tyres while the Mercedes drivers ran softs.

Max Verstappen split the Ferraris on medium tyres, but his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had an early finish after crashing at Turn 4.

Bottas and Hamilton established a Mercedes one-two early in the first half an hour, breaking into the high-1m18s on soft tyres, a feat nobody else managed over the rest of the session.

Ricciardo was third-fastest initially, more than a second behind Bottas's early 1m18.695s benchmark, but he then triggered a virtual safety car when he went off.

Conditions were clearly difficult as Bottas, Vettel and Marcus Ericsson all had early spins at different parts on the circuit before Brendon Hartley and Romain Grosjean took trips through the Turn 4 gravel.

They were fortunate to emerge unscathed, particularly Hartley whose Toro Rosso skated right up to the edge of a barrier on the outside of the gravel, but Ricciardo was not so lucky.

The Red Bull driver had a wobble entering the same corner and took to the gravel, running straight across and nudging the barrier with the front-left of his car.

When the virtual safety car finished Bottas improved twice on a new set of soft tyres and got down to a 1m18.411s before another Turn 10 moment, this time locking up and running deep after encountering traffic.

Further incidents ensued as drivers grappled with the tricky circuit, with both Williams drivers falling foul in quick succession.

Reserve driver Robert Kubica's first FP1 outing of the year in place of Sergey Sirotkin featured a lethargic spin at Turn 13, before Lance Stroll posted a personal best first sector then promptly beached his car in the Turn 5 gravel.

A few minutes before that off, Stroll had complained over the radio that it was "unbelievable how bad the balance is, I just want a little bit of understeer".

That caused a second virtual safety car and when that ended Bottas improved his benchmark yet again.

Bottas set new best times in all three sectors to post a 1m18.148s, while Hamilton did not improve after switching to mediums.

Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen hauled themselves to third and fourth in the final 30 minutes, before Verstappen got between the Ferraris in a Red Bull with a significant sidepod update.

McLaren earned best of the rest honours as it debuted a striking new nose and updated bargeboards, with Fernando Alonso 1.7s off the pace.

That shuffled Ricciardo to seventh, with Romain Grosjean, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.

Vandoorne's McLaren has a new Renault energy store fitted for this weekend, which means another change this year will result in a grid penalty.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m18.148s - 32
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.997s 0.849s 22
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.098s 0.950s 24
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m19.187s 1.039s 26
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m19.499s 1.351s 19
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m19.858s 1.710s 26
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m19.871s 1.723s 11
8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m19.906s 1.758s 24
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m20.083s 1.935s 28
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m20.508s 2.360s 29
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m20.637s 2.489s 28
12 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m20.665s 2.517s 23
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m20.924s 2.776s 36
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m20.984s 2.836s 18
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m21.053s 2.905s 28
16 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m21.144s 2.996s 27
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m21.159s 3.011s 26
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m21.373s 3.225s 28
19 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m21.510s 3.362s 24
20 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m22.756s 4.608s 15


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis , Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
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