Bottas heads Mercedes practice one-two

Valtteri Bottas. Picture: Mercedes F1 Twitter

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

Pos Num Driver Team Tim Diff Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:33.448 24
2 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:33.783 +0.335s 21
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
11 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:34.950 +1.502s 24
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
16 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:35.342 +1.894s 24
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

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