F1 Grand Prix practice results: Bottas fastest in Qatar

Valtteri Bottas was fastest for Mercedes on the opening day of Qatar Grand Prix practice at Losail International Circuit on Friday, the 20th round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship.

F1 Grand Prix practice results: Bottas fastest in Qatar
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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fastest in FP1 but it was Bottas who set the quickest time of the day – under the floodlights in FP2 – at 1m23.148s.

Pierre Gasly was an impressive second fastest in both sessions for AlphaTauri.

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Qatar Grand Prix FP1 results: Verstappen fastest from Gasly

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 22 1'23.723 231.334
2 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 28 1'24.160 0.437 0.437 230.133
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 24 1'24.194 0.471 0.034 230.040
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 21 1'24.509 0.786 0.315 229.182
5 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 27 1'24.648 0.925 0.139 228.806
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 26 1'24.713 0.990 0.065 228.630
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 27 1'24.790 1.067 0.077 228.423
8 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 22 1'24.915 1.192 0.125 228.086
9 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 23 1'24.972 1.249 0.057 227.933
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 19 1'25.215 1.492 0.243 227.283
11 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 24 1'25.291 1.568 0.076 227.081
12 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 19 1'25.328 1.605 0.037 226.982
13 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 24 1'25.688 1.965 0.360 226.029
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 23 1'25.757 2.034 0.069 225.847
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 25 1'25.828 2.105 0.071 225.660
16 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 24 1'25.871 2.148 0.043 225.547
17 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 21 1'25.905 2.182 0.034 225.458
18 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 21 1'26.699 2.976 0.794 223.393
19 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 11 1'26.712 2.989 0.013 223.360
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 16 1'27.500 3.777 0.788 221.348

What happened in Free Practice 1?

First practice in Qatar took place in daytime, meaning it was not fully representative of either qualifying or the race, both of which will begin at dusk in cooler conditions.

Verstappen spent the early part of FP1 on the hard compound tyre, trading fastest times with McLaren's Lando Norris on mediums, but was able to enjoy a 0.3 second margin over the field once they had completed their initial runs.

While Bottas initially took P1 for Mercedes when making the switch to soft tyres – despite running beyond track limits on his fastest lap – Verstappen was able to strike back and post a best time of 1m23.723s.

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It gave Verstappen top spot by four tenths by the end of the session as former teammate Gasly shot up to second place with a quick run using the soft tyres late on. Bottas remained third.

Verstappen's title rival, Lewis Hamilton, could only finish the session in fourth place, 0.786s off the Red Bull's lap. Throughout the session, Hamilton reported that his engine felt down on power, but was reassured by his race engineer that his straightline speed was not hugely down on that of his rivals.

Yuki Tsunoda was fifth for AlphaTauri, ahead of the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez – a winner here in GP2 Asia – was only eighth in this session.

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Qatar Grand Prix FP2 results: Bottas fastest from Gasly

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 27 1'23.148 232.934
2 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 27 1'23.357 0.209 0.209 232.350
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 20 1'23.498 0.350 0.141 231.957
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 25 1'23.570 0.422 0.072 231.757
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 24 1'23.632 0.484 0.062 231.585
6 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 26 1'23.705 0.557 0.073 231.384
7 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 28 1'23.735 0.587 0.030 231.301
8 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 20 1'23.787 0.639 0.052 231.157
9 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 27 1'24.020 0.872 0.233 230.516
10 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 28 1'24.033 0.885 0.013 230.480
11 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 29 1'24.041 0.893 0.008 230.458
12 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 25 1'24.056 0.908 0.015 230.417
13 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 23 1'24.095 0.947 0.039 230.310
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 24 1'24.135 0.987 0.040 230.201
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 26 1'24.631 1.483 0.496 228.852
16 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 27 1'24.954 1.806 0.323 227.982
17 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 23 1'25.072 1.924 0.118 227.665
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 28 1'25.209 2.061 0.137 227.299
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 27 1'25.575 2.427 0.366 226.327
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 0

What happened in Free Practice 2?

In FP2, Verstappen set the early pace on medium tyres at 1m23.743s, which was quickly beaten by Hamilton on 1m23.604s and then Bottas on 1m23.324s.

Bottas was the first frontrunner to use soft tyres, producing 1m23.154s, with Hamilton’s opening soft run 0.416s down on that. Bottas’s time was then deleted for exceeding track limits but he then ran again, producing a 1m23.148s – the fastest time of the day.

Gasly had a big slide at the final corner and just kept his car out of the gravel but went P2 on a second attempt on the same soft rubber, two tenths down on Bottas.

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Verstappen produced 1m23.579s on softs after running wide, just 0.009s off Hamilton in third, then Max improved to 1m23.498s after a quick pitstop.

Lando Norris was fifth fastest for McLaren, 0.422s off the pace, ahead of Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Tsunoda and Perez.

Nikita Mazepin – the only other driver in the field who’s raced here before – missed the session while his Haas chassis was switched as he damaged his car in FP1.

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