Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas quickest before oil leak halts running

2019 Spanish Grand Prix first practice

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Championship leader Valtteri Bottas began the Spanish Grand Prix on top for Mercedes, setting the fastest time in first practice.

He used a set of soft tyres to set a best time of 1’17.951, the only driver to lap the Circuit de Catalunya in under 78 seconds. However Bottas ended the session in the pits after an oil leak caused his engine to shut down.

As track temperatures rose to 38C, drivers found the soft tyres only had a brief life on the warm track. Lewis Hamilton, who lapped six-tenths of a second slower than his team mate, both cars running in the same configuration, said his soft rubber was expiring after just two laps.

The pair were separated by the Ferrari drivers. Sebastian Vettel was the faster of the two by a tenth of a second.

Red Bull did not occupy their customary third-best position. Max Verstappen, who was badly held up by Bottas at the end of one lap, also suffered technical problems on his car. Pierre Gasly had a brief moment at turn 12, where he’s already crashed one RB15 this year, on his way to the eighth-fastest time.

Gasly was shaded by the two Haas drivers, already looking more comfortable at a track which is expected to suit the VF-19 better, and Carlos Sainz Jnr’s McLaren. Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg completed a typically close lower half of the top 10.

Lance Stroll was the quicker of the two Racing Point drivers in 13th. However he skidded off at turn nine in the final minute and crashed, damaging the front of his RP19.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’17.95119
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’18.0660.11520
316Charles LeclercFerrari1’18.1720.22120
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’18.5750.62422
58Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’18.9430.99225
655Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’19.1551.20431
720Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’19.1801.22927
810Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’19.2851.33430
926Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’19.3641.41334
1027Nico HulkenbergRenault1’19.4501.49925
113Daniel RicciardoRenault1’19.5111.56024
1233Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’19.8441.89314
1318Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’19.8551.90428
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.0212.07028
1523Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’20.0302.07925
164Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’20.0662.11533
1711Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’20.4592.50826
187Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.5912.64022
1988Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’20.8892.93827
2063George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’20.9903.03923

First practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’17.951

+0.115 Sebastian Vettel – 1’18.066

+0.221 Charles Leclerc – 1’18.172

+0.624 Lewis Hamilton – 1’18.575

+0.992 Romain Grosjean – 1’18.943

+1.204 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’19.155

+1.229 Kevin Magnussen – 1’19.180

+1.334 Pierre Gasly – 1’19.285

+1.413 Daniil Kvyat – 1’19.364

+1.499 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’19.450

+1.560 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.511

+1.893 Max Verstappen – 1’19.844

+1.904 Lance Stroll – 1’19.855

+2.070 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’20.021

+2.079 Alexander Albon – 1’20.030

+2.115 Lando Norris – 1’20.066

+2.508 Sergio Perez – 1’20.459

+2.640 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’20.591

+2.938 Robert Kubica – 1’20.889

+3.039 George Russell – 1’20.990

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Bottas quickest before oil leak halts running”

  1. Ferrari sandbagging again

    1. Still not as much as HAM is sandbagging

      1. but Ferrari are sandbagging from Melbourne with Sundays included, that’s a lot of sand

        1. But at least Williams had a new sandbags development schedule.

          1. Come on man! I was having a sip of beer while reading this and now everything around me is a total mess! Hahahahhh

      2. This is practice. They’re practicing, trying different set-ups. HAM might have full fuel, BOT on fumes. Who knows?

      3. Yup, Hamilton deliberately went and wrecked a new set of tyres to fool you.

  2. I heard an interesting bit of radio convo. from RAI, at the closing of the session, asking his engineer whether he might have missed a weighbridge call-in (engineer checked, confirmed no missed calls there); guess drivers and teams are now alert to that then – FIA will know the Gasly penalty had effect!

    1. But the ‘Gasly penalty’ has been in place all along, so was always to be avoided. The question that came up a number of days ago simply regarded that perhaps in the future the penalty could still be one to avoid, but that doesn’t also carry over through Sunday. For now nothing has changed regarding this issue, so FIA already knew the penalty had an effect, and nobody is suggesting it shouldn’t also have an effect in the future…just with a different form of penalty.

      1. @Robbie, please.

        Of course teams always had to pay attention, but this radioconvo. shows that perhaps the teams are re-alerted to that now, which, until a possible change in the rules, is certainly smart and logical.

        1. @bosyber But nobody is talking about a change in the rules, just a change in the penalty for certain rules infractions, and I’m sure the same rule infraction will be smart and logical to avoid as there will still be a penalty.

          1. @robbie, is it impolite to roll my eyes?

          2. @bosyber Lol no that would be fine.

  3. Max might have been held up on his fastest lap, but Red Bull are still looking closer to F1.5 than they are to the frontrunners.

    1. Compared to last year it does seem a bit so, but at the same time their current WCC standing has them similarly too distant from Merc and Ferrari to touch the top two, but distant enough from the rest that they sit in a sole and untouched third place, just like last year.

      1. @robbie my feeling is that Max is hiding the car/engine shortcomings, Alonso-style.

        1. @spoutnik Very possible. Was just thinking too how it has been interesting so far this year in that RBR is now ‘happy’ to blame their shortcomings on chassis rather than Pu, as opposed to the McHonda experience, and the RBR/Renault experience. Of course so much, and way too much, is about the narrow tire window and achieving that.

        2. @spoutnik i’m not sure ‘hiding car/engine shortcomings, Alonso-style’ is still an appropriate term post 2015. Aaaargh!

    2. RBR is in no mans land between F1 and F1.5 all thanks to brillint performances by Max.

      1. RBR = F1.25

  4. I can hear Wolff/Hamilton press release how Ferrari are dominant.

    1. @jureo

      Yep they really believe their own mind games at dodgy Mercedes Benz.
      I’ll say it again. If Ferrari had ‘the best car’ Vettel would’ve won the WC last year and dissapear in the distance along with Leclerc this season.

      1. LeClerc was unstoppable just a couple of weeks ago. Until he stopped himself. And a couple of months back until the engine packed up.

        Which also raises questions regarding your theory that Vettel would have dominated last year. No?

  5. Looks like Williams may have found a bit of speed. I hope it’s a trend and the reduced gap isn’t a mirage.

  6. Looks like Mercedes fear of Ferrari, running Bottas on ultra performance suicide mode to asses its PU performance vs new Ferrari PU. It proved this doesn’t work as not reliable and causes issue. Meanwhile Hamilton on default performance mode clearly 0.5sec behind Ferrari. All in for Ferrari 1-2 this race.

  7. If the soft tyres are giving up the ghost after two laps, there or thereabouts, what does that mean for tyre strategy when the top teams have very limited mediums and hards?

    Do we think they will run Q1 and Q3 on the softs, Q2 on med/hard and then use hard/med (whichever they didn’t use before) in the race?

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