Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Bottas leads close Mercedes one-two as practice begins in Spain

2020 Spanish Grand Prix first practice

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Valtteri Bottas narrowly beat team mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time as practice began for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The two W11 drivers, who were separated by less than four hundredths of a second, used soft tyres to lap almost a second faster than the rest of the field. Only Max Verstappen, third, was within a second of the Mercedes.

The Ferrari drivers, who yesterday indicated they expected a challenging weekend in Spain, finished the first session inside the top five. Charles Leclerc was two-tenths off Verstappen’s pace while Sebastian Vettel, having changed chassis for this weekend, was encouragingly close to his team mate, the pair separated by little more than a hundredth.

The Haas drivers also began practice strongly, lapping consistently inside the top 10. Romain Grosjean ended the session sixth-fastest. Sergio Perez, back in the Racing Point for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix, was seventh-fastest.

Despite heading to the pits with a loss of power at once stage, Alexander Albon ended up eighth, and indicated he was satisfied with his car’s balance. The second Haas of Kevin Magnussen was next, followed by Lance Stroll’s Haas.

None of the Renault-powered cars appeared in the top 10. Carlos Sainz Jnr – like Vettel, also in a new chassis – took 11th for McLaren ahead of Esteban Ocon in one of the works cars.

Formula 2 driver Roy Nissany was the only test driver to participate in the session, taking over from George Russell in the Williams. Having been several seconds off the pace in post-season testing, he improved considerably to end the session three-tenths of a second slower than the team’s regular driver Nicholas Latifi.

Nissany also found time for a spin at turn 10. Meanwhile Russell made himself useful by taking over from the team’s lollipop man during a pit stop.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’16.78533
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’16.8240.03929
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’17.7240.93926
416Charles LeclercFerrari1’17.9701.18527
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’17.9811.19627
68Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’18.2911.50629
711Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’18.4711.68631
823Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’18.6061.82127
920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’18.6201.83528
1018Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’18.6431.85831
1155Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’18.7331.94833
1231Esteban OconRenault1’18.7361.95131
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’18.7441.95932
1410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.8882.10326
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.9172.13224
167Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.9812.19624
1726Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.1452.36021
183Daniel RicciardoRenault1’19.2302.44531
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’20.3343.54930
2040Roy NissanyWilliams-Mercedes1’20.6643.87925

First practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’16.785

+0.039 Lewis Hamilton – 1’16.824

+0.939 Max Verstappen – 1’17.724

+1.185 Charles Leclerc – 1’17.970

+1.196 Sebastian Vettel – 1’17.981

+1.506 Romain Grosjean – 1’18.291

+1.686 Sergio Perez – 1’18.471

+1.821 Alexander Albon – 1’18.606

+1.835 Kevin Magnussen – 1’18.620

+1.858 Lance Stroll – 1’18.643

+1.948 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’18.733

+1.951 Esteban Ocon – 1’18.736

+1.959 Lando Norris – 1’18.744

+2.103 Pierre Gasly – 1’18.888

+2.132 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’18.917

+2.196 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’18.981

+2.360 Daniil Kvyat – 1’19.145

+2.445 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.230

+3.549 Nicholas Latifi – 1’20.334

+3.879 Roy Nissany – 1’20.664

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2020 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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27 comments on “Bottas leads close Mercedes one-two as practice begins in Spain”

  1. I noticed that the grass parts around the track look yellow-ish, while I recall them being green generally, so I assume it’s because of the time of year and warmer weather.
    I also notice that Sainz seems to have altered his DRS-light pattern, which isn’t normal in any team ‘during’ a season.

    1. Isnt there a noticable lack of rain in this part of Spain along with summer time meaning grass not being green is going to be norm. Even the parts where spectators sit was brown than usual.

      1. @Chaitanya @carstenb By generally I was referring to how they look like in May, so I immediately assumed the time of year must have an impact on that.

      2. Isnt there a noticable lack of rain in this part of Spain along with summer time meaning grass not being green is going to be norm. Even the parts where spectators sit was brown than usual.

        That’ll be due to the well-known fact that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane.

        1. Not when the plane is above the clouds, though.

    2. Confirming the “grass color thing”. Having lived 8 years in Madrid, the grass in general would be green until early-to-mid June after that “burned” of.

      Good to see that Vettel with his new chassis seems to be close to LEC.

  2. I didnt like that green light on Nissany’s car. Perez didn’t know what it meant and also a driver in a split second could see it as a green flag during an incident

    1. @broke84 That’s a norm when inexperienced/super licenseless drivers take over the wheel for an FP1.

      1. Yeah, I get that but I don’t like it.

        1. @broke84 but the use of the green light for a rookie driver or a driver who hasn’t raced for a significant period of time is not new though – it’s been used for a number of years now (you can find, for example, pictures of Kubica having a green light on his car in the first tests he undertook in an F1 car).

          1. Hi Anon. As stated above I only said I dont like it. I’ve not said anything about the length of time it has been around

  3. Another Sunday with the Mercedes sponsors not getting much airtime…….

    Man I wish they would bring back the ‘proper’ last 2 corners at this track, especially with this generation of cars, would be spectacular to see, the current rinkydink chicane is just awful. Worst 100yards of tarmac on the current calendar!

    1. Agreed. They have the safest F1 cars ever and still keep crappy chicanes!

  4. Obligatory stupid conspiracy theory: Williams has turned down Latifi’s car to make Nissany look faster.

    FP1, not much to speculate on. Seems like business as usual, with a slight shake-up of the order possible. But let’s wait for the rest of the practice sessions.

    1. No need for conspiracy theories; Latifi’s just not very good is he?

      1. Latifi’s just not very good is he?

        I had low expectations, but so far this year he’s keeping up quite well.
        There have been worse drivers in the 2nd Williams.

  5. I know it’s only P1, but is that a possible sign that Vettel’s new chassis is at least a bit of an improvement (either practically or psychologically to Seb), since he’s close to Charles?

    1. I say that then remember Grosjean is only one position lower…

      Yeah, don’t put too much thought into P1 times :P

  6. Good luck to FIA trying to ban engine modes and make everyone catch Mercedes. Not going to happen.

    Happy for Seb. Let’s see how the weekend unfolds, but looks encouraging right now.

  7. The second Haas of Kevin Magnussen was next, followed by Lance Stroll’s Haas

    In light of RaceFans getting a series of scoops lately, I’m gonna go on a limb and say RaceFans have inside info of Lance being loaned to Haas for 2021 :)

    1. Or breaking news on who RP will copy next season.

  8. The gap between the Mercedes and everyone else is just depressing. Nissany was actually faster than I thought he’d be though.

  9. The table above does not show the tyre the time was set on *hint, hint*, but if the Williams is about 3.5 seconds a lap slower than the Mercedes. It means every 22 laps the Mercedes will lap the Williams, if my rough calculations are correct. Frankly I find it shocking, badum-tish.

  10. Vettel matching SuperClerc, while RedBull only has one driver in top teir.

    Then again without blistering this race is over.

    Also Bottas has a great opportunity here, as Lewis, if that can be said for anywhere, is not great here.

    1. Lewis has won here 4 times! 2 behind Schumachers 6. Yep…he’s bad here! 😂

  11. ugh, watching highlights now. sprint reverse race on Saturday. I was maybe for it until Crofty started promoting it. absolutely no effect on Sunday race?! Sprint race championship…
    Disliking Crofty grows stronger every weekend. Channel 4 FTA broadcast was refreshing 3 weekends ago

Comments are closed.