Valtteri Bottas headed another dominant Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix as he shaded teammate Lewis Hamilton to set the fastest time.

Bottas, who reported he almost hit a bird on his way to posting the quickest lap of the first 90-minute practice session, managed a best lap of 1m16.785s on Pirelli’s Soft compound tyre to outpace championship leader Hamilton by just 0.039s.

The Mercedes duo were once again in a league of their own on a Friday as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wound up nearly a full second adrift following his surprise victory last time out in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

It was an encouraging morning session for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc took fourth place narrowly ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who has taken on a new chassis for this weekend’s race after his Silverstone struggles. Both drivers were just two-tenths slower than Verstappen.

Romain Grosjean was an impressive sixth, outpacing returning Racing Point driver Sergio Perez, Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, while Lance Stroll completed the top 10.

Home-favourite Carlos Sainz finished 11th in his new McLaren chassis , ahead of Renault’s Esteban Ocon and teammate Lando Norris.

Pierre Gasly was the lead AlphaTauri in 14th as he lapped quicker than the Alfa Romeo duo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen, with Daniil Kvyat recovered from missing a chunk of time at the start of FP1 to take 17th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault.

The Williams pair propped up the timesheets in 19th and 20th as Nicholas Latifi headed development driver Roy Nissany, who took the place of George Russell to make his debut F1 outing in FP1.

The Israeli driver was just three-tenths shy of Latifi in his maiden F1 session which included a spin at Turn 10.

FULL OPENING PRACTICE RESULTS FOR THE F1 2020 SPANISH GRAND PRIX.

 

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