F1: Bottas tops opening practice at Spa

Valtteri Bottas strapped on a set of soft red tires and turned a lap of 1m45.199s to lead opening practice of the Belgian GP at Spa.

Max Verstappen’s second flying effort did see the Dutchman improve, but he remained second, 0.164s adrift of Bottas. The Dutchman will be confident of closing that deficit though, with the second sector seemingly where he has the advantage of the Silver Arrows.

Valtteri Bottas wearing face diaper, talks to the media – Steve Etherington Photo

Pierre Gasly was third quick 0.5s back in his Alpha Tauri.

Pierre Gasly

The Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. rounded out the top-5 with Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel 6th and 7th.

Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top-10

Lewis Hamilton was sandbagging, 3 seconds off the pace in 18th.

Early on, a blanket of fog covered Spa-Francorchamps and the track was damp, but the drivers reported the circuit too dry for intermediate tires. Rain is set to fall throughout the weekend, however, leaving teams practicing on slick tires in FP1 but anticipating wet conditions – and the clouds did indeed unleash some rain at the very end of the session.

Daniel Ricciardo on Intermediates

Advantage Mercedes, but based on the session as a whole, it certainly looks like Red Bull have a lot more to offer – certainly on the harder compound tires. Hamilton hasn’t shown his full hand having been hampered by traffic on his flying lap, so it is all still to play for later on.

Practice 1 Results

1 Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG 1m45.199s +0.000s
2 Max Verstappen NED Red Bull Racing 1m45.363s +0.164
3 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1m45.699s +0.500
4 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 1m45.818s +0.619
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 1m45.935s +0.736
6 Sergio Perez MEX Red Bull Racing 1m46.127s +0.928
7 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Cognizant 1m46.177s +0.978
8 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m46.336s +1.137
9 Esteban Ocon FRA Alpine F1 Team 1m46.497s +1.298
10 Fernando Alonso CHI Alpine F1 Team 1m46.612s +1.413
11 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Cognizant 1m46.649s +1.450
12 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m46.683s +1.484
13 Antonio Giovinazzi GBR Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 1m46.755s +1.556
14 George Russell ISR Williams Racing 1m46.772s +1.573
15 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1m46.928s +1.729
16 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m47.101s +1.902
17 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 1m48.125s +2.926
18 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG 1m48.224s +3.025
19 Nikita Mazepin RUS Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m48.705s +3.506
20 Mick Schumacher GER Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m49.059s +3.860