Bottas leads first Tuscan GP practice

Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images

Bottas leads first Tuscan GP practice

Formula 1

Bottas leads first Tuscan GP practice

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Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap at F1’s first official timed session at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello for the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver’s FP1 lap of 1m17.879s was quicker than the circuit’s all-time record of 1m18.704s, set in 2004 by Ruben Barrichello in a Ferrari during a private test.

Max Verstappen was next best, the Dutchman just 0.048s slower than the Finn at a circuit he hopes Red Bull Racing will be comfortably quick enough to avenge the team’s pointless finish at last week’s Italian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc was third quickest for Ferrari. His chassis, freshly liveried in burgundy in celebration of the Italian team’s 1000th race start this weekend, was brand-new after the Monegasque’s crash at Monza’s Parabolica last weekend and a touch slower than 0.3s off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest and more than half a second off the pace, but the championship leader was warned in the final five minutes of the session that his power unit was showing signs of damage.

Pierre Gasly — a first-time winner last weekend — came next in the order, his AlphaTauri equipped with some minor upgrades to help it around the high-downforce circuit.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon split Gasly from teammate Kvyat in sixth and seventh, the pair closely matched more than 0.9s off Bottas’s benchmark.

Lando Norris was the quickest McLaren in eighth ahead of Alex Albon’s RB16 in ninth, with Daniel Ricciardo completing the top 10 for Renault.

The narrow track and its rapid corners, located 22 miles north of Florence, proved challenging to navigate when fully populated, with several near-collisions throughout the session.

Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez almost collected each other early in the session at Turn 1, with each complaining the other hadn’t been paying attention.

It would be the least of Grosjean’s problems for the morning. The Frenchman’s Haas was equipped with a new Ferrari internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H, but he radioed that he had “absolutely no power” through the chicanes regardless. He ended the session 12th behind Kimi Raikkonen but ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Carlos Sainz was 15th, but the Spaniard spent the first half of the session testing a new McLaren nosecone. The design is a nod towards the Mercedes narrow nose concept and is intended for use at later races if it proves effective.

George Russell was the highest-placed Williams, finishing 16h ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

Racing Point duo Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez were 18th and 19th ahead of Nicholas Latifi in the second Williams. It was a difficult morning for Latifi, who was the only driver to spin at the new-to-F1 circuit and was also fined €800 for speeding in the pit lane.

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