Bottas goes quickest in FP1!
Teams and drivers have returned to a very familiar Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona for the fourth round of the 2021 season.
This morning marked Robert Kubica’s first outing of the year in the Alfa Romeo – in for Kimi Raikkonen – however, his stint was cut short after heading into the gravel at turn 10, summoning a red flag.
Williams, meanwhile, had Roy Nissany in their car for FP1 with George Russell sitting this one out.
Kicking off the weekend, Bottas topped the timesheets in his W12, while on the other end of the charts, Haas continued to clock the slowest laps in the VF-21 – finishing in P18 and P20.
Encouraging pace was seen from the Aston Martin team with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll finishing in P8 and P10 respectively.
Plenty of cars were straight out of the pits this morning for the hour-long session.
After just three minutes had passed, Mazepin went off at the exit of turn 2 and into the gravel, a regular occurrence for the Russian driver – however, he managed to reverse out and rejoin after the half spin.
Meanwhile, Bottas launched his W12 straight to the top of the timesheets with a 1:21.8, followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris with a 1:22.7.
Ten minutes into today’s practice, Verstappen resumed his familiar position at the top of the early pecking order after a lap in 1:20.4, with Hamilton in second just .07s off the pace at this point.
The British world champion quickly returned to the top spot, lowering the benchmark with a 1:19.6, followed closely by the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, .2s behind.
Only Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, and the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda remained in the pits at this time.
At the halfway mark, Vettel was in first after a smooth run on the soft Pirellis in the AMR21, 0.441s ahead of Hamilton, with Alonso now in third.
The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were in P4 and P5 – however, they had yet to crack out the soft tyres.
McLaren’s Ricciardo was finally out of the pits and in P13, while AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was also on track and in tenth.
With 16 minutes left on the clock, Robert Kubica – in for Kimi Raikkonen – went off at turn 10, and into the gravel, ending his Reserve Driver duties early and summoning a red flag.
Racing resumed with 9 minutes left on the clock – just enough time for a few more laps.
As time ran out in the first Practice session of the weekend, Bottas went quickest with a 1:18.5, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton went third fastest, with Max Verstappen splitting the Mercedes duo.
The McLaren of Lando Norris went fourth fastest, followed by the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in fifth and sixth.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly filled 7th followed by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez in P8 and P9 respectively.
Closing out this morning’s top ten was the second Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, after an encouraging morning for the team.
FP2 kicks off at 2 pm.