Mercedes Valtteri Bottas has topped FP1, a result the Finn needed after Baku. Teammate Lewis Hamilton came second as many got unstick thanks to the wind.

It was time for F1 to head out for the first practice of the weekend. It was the first time the series has gone to Paul Ricard since 2019, and the race was considered by most to be one of the worst races of the decade. Both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have to redeem themselves after Baku, with neither driver scoring points. Sergio Perez will hope for a podium at least, after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

So, the session went green. A stream of cars went out on track immediately, with aero rakes aplenty. Almost immediately, Mick Schumacher hit the wall. The car was undamaged, but the tires were wrecked. Yuki Tsunoda was next to fall foul of the track, spinning out of the final turn.

Valtteri Bottas had a problem, running over the curb and damaging his front wing. Then, Sebastian Vettel crashed. The car was reasonably okay but it was a big confidence hit for the German.

At the halfway point of the session, it was Max Verstappen on top, Perez second, and Hamilton third. Bottas was fourth with Fernando Alonso rounding out the top five. Mercedes need a good weekend after the disappointments of Baku and Monaco, especially Bottas, who sits sixth in the title.

Carlos Sainz spun, the car was mostly undamaged but the tires were wrecked. He lost the rear mid-corner at turn 2 and spun. Many drivers were complaining about setup problems, but the wind was strong, so the car would naturally be unstable.

In the end it was Bottas on top, from Hamilton and Verstappen, with Perez fourth and Esteban Ocon fifth. The full top 10 are as follows:

PositionDriverTeam+sec
1V. BottasMercedes1.33.448
2L. HamiltonMercedes+0.335
3M. VerstappenRed Bull+0.432
4S. PerezRed Bull+0.745
5E. OconAlpine+0.881
6D. RicciardoMcLaren+1.196
7F. AlonsoAlpine+1.245
8P. GaslyAlpha Tauri+1.251
9L. NorrisMcLaren+1.259
10Y. TsunodaAlpha Tauri+1.399

Journalist, writing various articles for ASN. MotoGP specialist and ASN's resident motorsports history nerd. Can generally be found screaming at stupid strategy choices while watching the tv.