Portuguese GP: Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice

Luke Smith
·4 min read

Ahead of the first F1 race in Portugal for 24 years this weekend, opening practice saw a number of drivers report struggles with a lack of grip at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve.

But Bottas was able to set the pace for Mercedes in FP1, heading up a 1-2 finish for the German team ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the sister W11 car.

Bottas had sat third on the timesheets after the initial runs on the hard compound tyre early in the session as Hamilton led the way, but was able to leapfrog his teammate during the medium-compound runs that followed.

After initially sitting 0.143s off Hamilton's time with his first push lap on the mediums, Bottas was able to set a time of 1m18.410s with his second effort that was good enough to take top spot at the end of the session.

Hamilton was left to settle for second place, sitting 0.339 seconds behind Bottas in the final classification. He reported graining on his tyres during some late laps in FP1, echoing messages from a number of drivers.

Max Verstappen led Red Bull to third despite suffering an early spin in the green conditions and having a laptime deleted after confusion over the track limit rules at Turn 1.

The Dutchman ultimately put in a lap time that was seven tenths of a second slower than Bottas' benchmark, albeit set on the hard compound tyre.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc also opted to focus on hard tyre running throughout opening practice at Portimao, and had been running second after the opening runs before ending the session fourth fastest. Leclerc also had a brief spin at Turn 14, but was able to recover easily.

Alexander Albon took fifth for Red Bull despite reporting instability with his RB16 car on low speed corners. Both Red Bulls were spotted to emit puffs of smoke at the rear of the car on occasion midway through the session.

Carlos Sainz finished sixth for McLaren as the team began to evaluate its "slight hybrid" update package following its struggles at the Nurburgring. The Spaniard finished ahead of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen, who followed in seventh and eighth place respectively.

Daniel Ricciardo ended the session ninth for Renault ahead of Pierre Gasly, who had his running cut short after being asked to pit due to "an issue with the car" with 20 minutes left in the session.

Sebastian Vettel took 11th for Ferrari ahead of Lando Norris and Daniil Kvyat, the latter suffering a spin late on for AlphaTauri at Turn 3. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen finished 14th ahead of Lance Stroll, who made his return to the Racing Point cockpit following illness, and finished 15th.

Antonio Giovinazzi lapped over a second slower than Raikkonen in the second Alfa Romeo car, leaving him 16th ahead of Romain Grosjean.

George Russell led Williams' charge in FP1 as he finished 18th, with teammate Nicholas Latifi propping up the timesheets in P20. The duo were split by Renault's Esteban Ocon, who was told to pit after the chequered flag without changing gear due to a problem with the car.

1

Finland
Finland

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+
Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+

Mercedes

35

1'18.410

2

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+
Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+

Mercedes

35

1'18.749

0.339

3

Netherlands
Netherlands

Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16

Red Bull

32

1'19.191

0.781

4

Monaco
Monaco

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari SF1000
Ferrari SF1000

Ferrari

33

1'19.309

0.899

5

Thailand
Thailand

Alex Albon

Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16

Red Bull

34

1'19.365

0.955

6

Spain
Spain

Carlos Sainz Jr.

McLaren-Renault MCL35
McLaren-Renault MCL35

McLaren

42

1'19.441

1.031

7

Mexico
Mexico

Sergio Perez

Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20
Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20

Racing Point

31

1'19.907

1.497

8

Finland
Finland

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39

Alfa Romeo

34

1'19.954

1.544

9

Australia
Australia

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault R.S.20
Renault R.S.20

Renault

27

1'20.058

1.648

10

France
France

Pierre Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda AT01
AlphaTauri-Honda AT01

AlphaTauri

29

1'20.124

1.714

11

Germany
Germany

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari SF1000
Ferrari SF1000

Ferrari

37

1'20.200

1.790

12

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Lando Norris

McLaren-Renault MCL35
McLaren-Renault MCL35

McLaren

29

1'20.207

1.797

13

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Daniil Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda AT01
AlphaTauri-Honda AT01

AlphaTauri

32

1'20.278

1.868

14

Denmark
Denmark

Kevin Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari VF-20
Haas-Ferrari VF-20

Haas

28

1'20.846

2.436

15

Canada
Canada

Lance Stroll

Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20
Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20

Racing Point

32

1'20.954

2.544

16

Italy
Italy

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39

Alfa Romeo

35

1'21.009

2.599

17

France
France

Romain Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari VF-20
Haas-Ferrari VF-20

Haas

31

1'21.169

2.759

18

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

George Russell

Williams-Mercedes FW43
Williams-Mercedes FW43

Williams

31

1'21.374

2.964

19

France
France

Esteban Ocon

Renault R.S.20
Renault R.S.20

Renault

31

1'21.673

3.263

20

Canada
Canada

Nicholas Latifi

Williams-Mercedes FW43
Williams-Mercedes FW43

Williams

34

1'22.054

3.644

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