Bottas heads Mercedes practice one-two
By Mat Coch
Friday 18th June, 2021 - 8:49pm
Valtteri Bottas has topped Free Practice 1 for Sunday’s Formula 1 French Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn recorded a 1:33.448s to head his team-mate by 0.3s with the Red bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez next best.
Shortly after the 60-minute session had begun, Mick Schumacher lost control of the Haas at Turn 3 and skated off the road.
The German tagged the barrier with the front of the car in the process but was able to get going again with a set of heavily flat spotted tyres, the team attributing the off to a technical issue on the car.
Further around the lap, Yuki Tsunoda looped his AlphaTauri under power exiting the final corner but was able to recover and continue.
Inside the opening 10 minutes, Valtteri Bottas damaged his front wing after running over the back of the kerbing on the exit of Turn 2.
Sebastian Vettel also came a cropper, spinning after 15 minutes and finding the wall at De Beausset with the rear of the Aston Martin.
After 20 minutes, Verstappen topped the session with a 1:34.139s, heading team-mate Perez by 0.3s, then the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton.
The leading quartet, covered by 0.6s, were followed by Daniel Ricciardo, though more than a second away from Verstappen’s pace.
Mercedes’ speed improved later in the session, Bottas shooting to the top with a 1:33.448s and Hamilton second on 1:33.783s.
Verstappen and Perez had also improved, the spread at the top however had grown to 0.7s.
Esteban Ocon rose to fifth by session’s end, with Ricciardo sixth and Fernando Alonso seventh.
Lando Norris was ninth best in the second McLaren, while Charles Leclerc was Ferrari’s best in 11th, 1.5s away from Bottas’ pace.
A moment for Carlos Sainz left the Ferrari driver off the road with a ruined set of tyres, the Spaniard limping back to the pits with his car otherwise unscathed – one of many bitten by the highly abrasive run off areas.
There was also a near miss for Hamilton saw him take evasive action as Tsunoda joined the circuit having completed a practice start at pit exit.
The slower moving AlphaTauri was fed onto the racing line leaving the Mercedes driver to take to the expansive run off at Turn 1 to avoid the Japanese driver.
Practice at Paul Ricard continues with Free Practice 2, which commences at 23:00 AEST.
Results: Formula 1 French Grand Prix, Free Practice 1
|3||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:33.880||+0.432s||23|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:34.193||+0.745s||25|
|5||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||1:34.329||+0.881s||25|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:34.644||+1.196s||24|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT||1:34.693||+1.245s||21|
|8||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:34.699||+1.251s||20|
|9||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:34.707||+1.259s||21|
|10||22||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:34.847||+1.399s||22|
|12||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:35.116||+1.668s||23|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:35.135||+1.687s||20|
|14||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:35.275||+1.827s||23|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:35.289||+1.841s||16|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:35.612||+2.164s||22|
|18||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||1:36.651||+3.203s||24|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||1:37.329||+3.881s||14|
|20||45||Roy Nissany||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:37.881||+4.433s||16|