Bottas leads Ferraris in Spain as Stroll crashes

Image by Andy Hone/LAT

Bottas leads Ferraris in Spain as Stroll crashes

Formula 1

Bottas leads Ferraris in Spain as Stroll crashes

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Valtteri Bottas was quickest ahead of the two Ferraris in opening practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, in a session ended by a crash for Lance Stroll.

FP1 saw a number of new parts introduced by teams, with aerodynamic tests taking place during the first track running of the weekend. Championship leader Bottas set the pace for Mercedes with a 1m17.951s, but was closely followed by the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel ran wide out of Turn 12 as he negotiated traffic on his best lap, so backed off and then tried again, but fell just 0.115s short of Bottas. The German also saw a small part fall off the floor of his car early in the session when running over the curbs exiting the chicane, as none of the top three teams had a faultless run.

Bottas himself suffered an oil leak late in the session that caused a precautionary engine shutdown and ended his running slightly early, with Mercedes investigating the issue ahead of FP2.

Leclerc was only 0.2s away from the fastest time in third, with Lewis Hamilton over half a second adrift in fourth place despite running the same configuration as his teammate.

Both Ferrari and Mercedes set their fastest times on the soft compound of tire, while Red Bull used the medium on Pierre Gasly’s car, limiting him to eighth behind Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen. Max Verstappen was down in 12th place but only managed 14 laps before a long spell in the garage as Red Bull worked underneath his car.

There was also a close moment between Verstappen and Bottas at the final chicane, as the Red Bull came across a queue of cars at the end of one of his early timed laps. Overtaking one car in the braking zone, Verstappen then found Bottas in the middle of the chicane and had to take avoiding action, gesturing at the Mercedes on exit.

That wasn’t the most dramatic moment, though, as Stroll crashed to bring the session to a slightly premature end. Dropping an outside wheel on the grass before turning in for the high-speed Turn 9, Stroll had to catch the rear, sending him wide. Once in the gravel, there was no slowing or turning the car sufficiently and Stroll hit the barrier, breaking the front wing and front left corner of the car.

The red flag ended running with only a few minutes remaining, but Racing Point had a number of new parts damaged in the incident that could hurt Stroll later in the weekend.

Grosjean also had a trip through the gravel at Turn 8 with half an hour remaining, losing the rear and sliding wide but rejoining without damage.

The two Renaults were 10th and 11th with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo respectively, as the French manufacturer joined Ferrari in bringing an updated power unit to Barcelona. McLaren also has the update available this weekend.

 

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