Valtteri Bottas just leads Max Verstappen in FP1 at Spain, which was interrupted by a late red flag. Lewis Hamilton was third.
Formula 1 went out for FP1. With the new turn 10, it was especially important to get the hang of it and adjust the setup to cope with the quicker and longer corner. Barcelona is known as a great testing circuit, which brings out any weakness in the car, so the pecking order will be found once and for all here.
The session went green, and a steady stream of cars left the pit lane to go on track, headed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Just four minutes in, Nikita Mazepin spun at turn 7, losing it on the throttle. There were plenty of updates on the cars to trial in this session, so the early minutes were largely used to test those out.
Mazepin then got in the way of Charles Leclerc not long after he spun, before a short lull in the session as teams changed the setup and compared part data. Lewis Hamilton led Fernando Alonso at the halfway mark, with Verstappen third.
The teams began soft tire runs in the second half of the session, with Mercedes going 1-2 with three-quarters of the session gone. McLaren’s Lando Norris continued his strong form, as did Pierre Gasly, both going only a couple tenths behind Mercedes.
Then, Robert Kubica put his Alfa into the gravel, causing a red flag. The Pole lost the rear midway through the re-profiled turn 10, spinning out into the gravel. The session restarted with nine minutes left, which means there was time for just a few more laps.
There was a messy moment near the end when Valtteri Bottas almost went up the back end of a Ferrari, having to take to the grass to avoid hitting it at the chicane.
In the end, it was Bottas ahead, by 0.033 seconds from Red Bull’s Verstappen, with Hamilton a further tenth behind. The Red Bull-Mercedes battle looked set to boil on throughout the weekend with nothing separating the three.
|2||M. Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||+0.033|
|7||P. Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+0.558|
|8||S. Vettel||Aston Martin||+0.730|
|9||S. Perez||Red Bull Racing||+0.845|
|10||L. Stroll||Aston Martin||+0.925|