FP1: Under-fire Valtteri Bottas sets the pace in Spain

Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheet in FP1 in Spain as Nikita Mazepin once again irked a rival and Robert Kubica brought out the red flags.

Unlike in the past 10 years, the drivers saw the Barcelona circuit for the first time this year as they took to the track for FP1 for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez was the first to do in installation lap, Robert Kubica, in for Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo just for the session, was the first to set a time, a 1:27.006, and Nikita Mazepin was the first in trouble as he lost it at Turn 8.

Back on the track Mazepin was also the first to be criticised by a rival driver with Charles Leclerc feeling that the Haas driver had ruined his lap.

Charles on the team radio: "Mazepin will never change."

Think Charles meant that he ruined his lap 😬 (he didn‘t specify) #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/rm0tnSie8n

— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) May 7, 2021

With all the firsts played out, it was left to Red Bull, running updates on their RB16B, to battle Mercedes for P1.

Lewis Hamilton hit the front, Max Verstappen took over, Fernando Alonso on the soft tyres briefly upset the story line, and Hamilton on the hard tyres hit back with a 1:19.675.

While Perez was one of the last to set a time, only beginning his programme 20 minutes into the session, Verstappen also spent a bit of time in the garage after he damaged his front wing on the kerbs at Turn 7.

Front wing damage sees @Max33Verstappen back in the garage as the mechanics take a closer look 👀 🔧#SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 pic.twitter.com/P97iciV5TI

— Formula 1 (@F1) May 7, 2021

Sebastian Vettel joined Alonso on the soft tyres and laid down a 1:19.234 to go P1, not a position he is used to in the last year and a bit. He wasn’t up in P1 for long, though, as Hamilton bolted on a set of softs and did a 1:18.808.

Hamilton lowered the benchmark before Bottas bettered it with a 1:18.504, 0.123s up on his team-mate. Lando Norris, who was testing McLaren’s new floor, was third fastest. The Red Bulls, though, were yet to do a soft tyre run.

The red flag was out with 17 minutes on the clock after Kubica lost the rears and spun off into the Turn 10 gravel. “I’m stuck,” he told Alfa Romeo.

🚩 RED FLAG 🚩

Kubica beaches himself in the gravel at Turn 10 #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 pic.twitter.com/VVHfd0L1bK

— Formula 1 (@F1) May 7, 2021

The session went green with nine minutes to go with the Red Bull drivers doing their soft runs. Verstappen went second to split the Mercedes drivers, 0.033s down on Bottas, while Perez was only P9.

Norris finished P4 ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the mediums. Pierre Gasly, Vettel, Perez and Lance Stroll completed the top ten.

Bottas ended his session with a close encounter with Leclerc while Perez gave Daniel Ricciardo an angry gesture.

Times

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:18.50425 laps
2Max VerstappenRed Bull0.033s19 laps
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes0.123s22 laps
4Lando NorrisMcLaren0.440s23 laps
5Charles LeclercFerrari0.492s24 laps
6Carlos SainzFerrari0.516s21 laps
7Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri0.558s26 laps
8Sebastian VettelAston Martin0.730s23 laps
9Sergio PerezRed Bull0.845s17 laps
10Lance StrollAston Martin0.925s24 laps
11Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri1.165s21 laps
12Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing1.190s22 laps
13Daniel RicciardoMcLaren1.228s23 laps
14Fernando AlonsoAlpine1.446s24 laps
15Esteban OconAlpine1.452s24 laps
16Nicholas LatifiWilliams1.766s25 laps
17Roy NissanyWilliams2.196s22 laps
18Mick SchumacherHaas2.262s23 laps
19Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo Racing3.383s13 laps
20Nikita MazepinHaas3.472s22 laps

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