Portuguese GP: Bottas pips Verstappen by 0.025s in FP1

Valtteri Bottas topped FP1 for Formula 1's 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix by 0.025s over Max Verstappen, who finished second despite complaining of vibrations impacting his vision on his fastest lap.

Portuguese GP: Bottas pips Verstappen by 0.025s in FP1

The pair traded fastest times throughout the opening practice session, while Lewis Hamilton finished fifth after complaining of a balance problem early on and then failing to string a flying lap together on the softer tyres in the closing stages.

When the session got underway, Bottas was first to take the track, followed by Sergio Perez, who was initially running a large aero rake at the rear of his Red Bull.

Bottas therefore set the early benchmark at 1m23.778s on the hard tyres, which most of the field used for the first half of the 60-minute session.

The smooth, low-grip surface meant the drivers were finding time the longer their runs went on, with Bottas soon lowering the fastest time to a 1m22.938s.

Hamilton then jumped ahead with a 1m22.772s, also on the hard rubber, but was soon back in the pits complaining that the balance on his W12 was "undriveable" and that Mercedes had to make some "serious changes".

Read Also:

Carlos Sainz went fastest as the opening 10 minutes ended, before he was usurped by Bottas's 1m21.829s, which brought the Finn's long opening run to a close.

Nearly 10 minutes later, Daniel Ricciardo put his McLaren quickest with a 1m21.821s, before Verstappen put in his first flying effort of the event just past the 20-minute mark having started his session much later than most.

Verstappen duly went to the top of the times with a 1m21.053s – which would have been faster had he not had to catch his car snapping left while running through the long, downhill right-hander of Turn 14 – where Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had run out wide over the large run-off area during the early stages.

Bottas retook the top spot with 1m20.506s when he reappeared again on the hard tyres, which stood as the benchmark over the session's halfway point before Verstappen lowered it twice, first with a 1m20.500s then a 1m20.318s on consecutive runs – despite complaining of struggles at the tight Turn 3 right "every over lap".

Shortly after this, Bottas switched to the soft tyres for the first time and quickly retook the top spot with a 1m20.221s, where he shipped time to Verstappen in the middle sector.

Bottas corrected this next time and lowered the fastest time again to a 1m20.088s, before breaking into the 1m19s on his next flying lap – a 1m19.648s.

Heading into the final 10 minutes of FP1, Verstappen also switched to the soft tyres, but ahead of his flying lap he complained of severe vibrations coming from his tyres, even suggesting he could not see properly as a result.

Red Bull offered to bring him in on safety grounds, but Verstappen joked he would "just visit the dentist after the weekend" and continued onto his flying lap.

Despite the issues, Verstappen set purple sectors in the first two thirds of the lap, but lost time to Bottas in the final sector and wound up 0.025s adrift, after which he pitted to get his tyres checked.

Perez slotted into third late on to finish 0.198s slower than Bottas, with Leclerc also improving as the clock wound down to put his Ferrari fourth.

Hamilton's session finished with several attempts at a flying lap on the softs, with which he would regularly set the fastest time in the first sector before losing time in the middle segment and then aborting his runs.

He therefore ended up 0.319s slower than his teammate's best time, with his best time on the softs coming in at 1m19.967s – the final lap under the 1m20s bracket.

Pierre Gasly took sixth for AlphaTauri ahead of George Russell, who backed up Williams's strong practice form at Imola with seventh.

Lando Norris took eighth for McLaren ahead of Sainz, while Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 in his Alpine.

Sebastian Vettel provided some comic relief halfway through the session when he briefly parked up at the McLaren pits, where he had been used to stopping with Ferrari in 2020, before rolling up to his Aston Martin garage and apologising to his squad.

He finished P16, one spot ahead of Callum Ilott, who made his F1 weekend debut in place of Antonio Giovinazzi and finished two places behind Kimi Raikkonen in the other Alfa Romeo.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 31 1'19.648
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 23 1'19.673 0.025
3 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 22 1'19.846 0.198
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 27 1'19.884 0.236
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 32 1'19.967 0.319
6 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 31 1'20.444 0.796
7 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 29 1'20.529 0.881
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 26 1'20.635 0.987
9 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 27 1'20.680 1.032
10 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 27 1'20.800 1.152
11 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 29 1'20.894 1.246
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 31 1'20.995 1.347
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 28 1'21.090 1.442
14 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 31 1'21.303 1.655
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 25 1'21.381 1.733
16 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 31 1'21.405 1.757
17 United Kingdom Callum Ilott
Alfa Romeo 21 1'21.806 2.158
18 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 29 1'21.939 2.291
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 29 1'22.293 2.645
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 29 1'24.224 4.576
shares
comments

Related video

Can Gasly finally fulfil AlphaTauri qualifying promise?
Previous article

Can Gasly finally fulfil AlphaTauri qualifying promise?

Next article

Portuguese GP practice as it happened

Portuguese GP practice as it happened
Load comments
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022