Portugal, FP1: Bottas edges Red Bulls in opening practice for Portuguese GP

Leclerc 4th, Hamilton 5th

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By Olivier Ferret

30 April 2021 - 13:39
Portugal, FP1: Bottas edges Red (...)

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas went quickest in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Portugues Grand Prix beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by the narrow margin of 0.025s. Third placer went to Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull.

Bottas set the early pace as Pérez spent the opening part of the one-hour session running with a large aero rake fitted as Red Bull analysed upgrades brought to this weekend’s event in Portimão.

Bottas worked his way to a fastest time of a 1:22.938s before team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton shaved two tenths off that time as both ran on hard tyres. Hamilton was unhappy with the balance of his car however and returned to the pits to make set-up changes.

Bottas later returned to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 1:21.829s, which stood for some time before McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo jumped to P1 with a lap of 1:21.821. His stay at the top was shortlived, however, as Verstappen, making his first run of the day, immediately vaulted to the top of the order with a lap 1:21.053. Bottas beat that, though, with a lap of 1:20.506, again on hard tyres, but soon after the halfway point Verstappen went quicker again, getting down to 1:20.318.

Mercedes then sent Bottas out on soft tyres and over three laps he found his way back to the top and a best time of 1:19.648.

Verstappen also switched to the soft tyres late in the session andf though he complained of severe vibrations from his tyres he set a best time of 1:19.673 to finish a little over two hundredths of a second behind the Finn.

After completing his aero work Pérez eventually rose to third place to finish just under two tenths of a second off Bottas. Charles Leclerc took fourth place for Ferrari just under four hundredths of a second behind Pérez.

Hamilton’s unhappiness with balance extended to his runs on soft tyres and he finished in fifth place, 0.319s down on his team-mate. Pierre Gasly took sixth for AlphaTauri ahead of George Russell, who backed up Williams’s strong practice form at Imola with seventh. Lando Norris finished eighth for McLaren with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz ninth ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:19.648 31
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:19.673 23
03 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:19.846 22
04 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:19.884 27
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:19.967 32
06 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:20.444 31
07 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:20.529 29
08 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:20.635 26
09 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:20.680 27
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:20.800 27
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:20.894 29
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:20.995 30
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:21.090 27
14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:21.303 31
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:21.381 25
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:21.405 31
17 Callum Ilott Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:21.806 21
18 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:21.939 29
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:22.293 29
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:24.224 29

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