France, FP1: Bottas sets the pace in first practice for French Grand Prix

Hamilton 2nd, Verstappen 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

18 June 2021 - 12:33
France, FP1: Bottas sets the pace (...)

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas went quickest in the opening practice session for this weekend FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton by three tenths of a second, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez.

The opening phase of the one-hour session saw teams split between the C2 hard and C3 medium compound tyre with Verstappen medium-shod Carlos Sainz leading the way for Ferrari in the opening exchanges before Verstappen stamped some authority on proceedings with hard tyre time of 1:34.139.

As the session reached its mid-point Mercedes sent its drivers out on soft tyres and Hamilton immediately jumped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:33.783. Verstappen them headed out on softs and his opener on the C4 compound was just under a tenth off the Briton.

Earlier in the session Valtteri Bottas had retreated to the Mercedes garage after running hard over the track limits-delineating kerbs in Turn 2 and shipping some damage to the front wing of his car.

He returned top the fray just before the switch to soft rubber and when he moved to the red-walled tyres he moved up to first place, setting a lap of 1:33.488 to go 0.335s clear of Hamilton and 0.432 ahead of Verstappen.

Verstappen might have gone quicker on his second run but after posting a purple middle sector he ran wide in Turn 11 and abandoned the lap.

Fourth place in the session went to Pérez, who ended up a more than secven tenths of a second adrift of Bottas. Esteban Ocon who this week signed a new three-year contract with Alpine, took fifth with a late flier on softs, while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth ahead of Fernando Alonso in the second Alpine. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was eighth quickest in the morning session ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda in the second AlphaTauri.

Elsewhere, there were problems for Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel spinning off in Turn 11 and hitting the barriers with the rear if his car, and for Haas’ Mick Schumacher who went off at Turn 3 and touched the barriers with the right side of his car. Sainz, too, had a spin losing the rear of his Ferrari in Turn 2 and going off backwards into the run-off area.

01 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:33.448 24
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:33.783 21
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:33.880 23
04 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:34.193 25
05 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:34.329 25
06 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:34.644 24
07 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:34.693 21
08 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:34.699 20
09 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:34.707 21
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:34.847 22
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:34.950 24
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:35.116 23
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:35.135 20
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:35.275 23
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:35.289 16
16 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:35.342 24
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:35.612 22
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:36.651 24
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:37.329 14
20 Roy Nissany Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:37.881 16

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