The first free practice session of this weekend’s Grand Prix in Portimao saw Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen trade the top spot on the chart, with Bottas ending up faster than Max by the end of the first session of the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix.
Bottas decided to use soft tyres on his W12 with 20 minutes left on the clock, setting a benchmark time with improvements over his previous laps to a best of 1m19.648 seconds. Verstappen, who had some upgrades to his RB16B had a flat spot on his tyre during the later part of the session, making it impossible to drive the car.
Despite this, Max wrestled the car to a time just 0.025 seconds off the pace by Bottas on soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton finished P5, three-tenths down from the leader, being beaten by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a tenth of a second.
P3 was held by Sergio Perez, 0.198 seconds off Bottas’ place. He was also spotted running an aero rake for possible testing in the early parts of FP1.
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly finished P6, just ahead of Mr Saturday, George Russell who managed to get his Williams to P7. Just on the heels of Gasly was Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.
P9 and P10 were held by Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon, the latter of the two showing better pace than two-time world champion Fernando Alonso down in 14th.
Lance Stroll was next up in P11, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) in P12. Stroll’s four-time world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel finished P16, ahead of 2020 Formula 2 Championship runner up Callum Ilott in P17, but behind Seb’s former team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in P15.
P13 went to hotshot rookie Yuki Tsunoda from AlphaTauri, whilst P18 and P19 were held by Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi, with Mick’s teammate Nikita Mazepin closing off the board at P20.
Given below is the complete table of the standings, including the Driver’s best time and the laps driven by them.
|2||33||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:19.673||+0.025s||23|
|3||11||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:19.846||+0.198s||22|
|11||18||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:20.894||+1.246s||29|
|15||7||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:21.381||+1.733s||25|
|16||5||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:21.405||+1.757s||31|
|17||98||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:21.806||+2.158s||21|