70th Anniversary GP: Bottas top in FP1, tyre wear issues continue

Mercedes ran 1-2 in Free Practice 1 for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix with Valtteri Bottas topping the timesheet ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

After last week featured four punctures, several drivers complained about high, wear on the soft tyres most notably Alex Albon who also struggled with setups problems.

After the protest against Racing Point copying Mercedes brake ducts was upheld, Nico Hulkenberg had a good session finishing fourth and looking strong on his long runs too.

The team has been fined $400,000 and deducted 15 constructors’ championship points but there was talk that this won’t go far enough to punish them.

The other car of Lance Stroll had a difficult weekend at the British GP and finished the session eighth.

Alongside Albon; Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and the McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were all on the radio mentioning tyre wear issues and it looks as if the soft tyre won’t be favoured by the teams this weekend.

The Woking-based team ran the most laps of anyone over the 90 minutes, led by Sainz, but didn’t trouble the top 10.

Bottas went to the top of the timesheet late on in the session after his car went into ‘limp home mode’ earlier in the session but Mercedes looked comfortably the fastest car all the way through.

The Finn lost second place due to a puncture last week and is now 30 points behind Hamilton in the championship, but yesterday was re-signed to the team for 2021.

Charles Leclerc was fifth following on from his podium last week at Silverstone with Sebastian Vettel in seventh, the pair split by Albon.

Vettel, who according to Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport is 2021 is close to signing a deal with Aston Martin to race there in 2021, was much closer to teammate Leclerc than last weekend which marks a positive step forward.

After his huge crash last weekend, Daniil Kvyat was ninth with Ocon rounding out the top 10.

Robert Kubica ran in the session for Alfa Romeo instead of Antonio Giovinazzi but wasn’t able to extract much more pace from the car than the Italian and finished 19th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen.