Tuscan GP: Bottas fastest in FP1, Ferrari high-flying

Valtteri Bottas was fastest on Formula 1’s debut at Mugello, Ferrari looked strong in third.

Leclerc celebrated Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix with a strong result, but with the obvious asterisk that it’s been difficult to read into practice results at all this season.

Nicolas Latifi spun at turn two at the end of the session in an otherwise uneventful but informative morning, while Lewis Hamilton was half a second behind his teammate in fourth.

The biggest challenge looks to be keeping flat through turns six, seven and eight – several drivers feathered out of Arabiata 1 which proved a difference-maker in the second sector.

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There was a mix of tyre selection across drivers’ first runs, with Verstappen fastest at the halfway point with a 1m19.017s on hard tyres.

At that stage he led Hamilton and Leclerc, before there was a flurry of drivers setting PBs on soft tyres.

Lando Norris was the first driver to go sub-79 seconds, and it wasn’t long before Bottas broke the next barrier by setting a 1m17.879s with half an hour to go.

Verstappen was next onto his flying lap and made up a quarter of a second in the final sector, but fell half a tenth short of the Finn, ending the session second fastest.

Pierre Gasly rounded out the top five a further quarter of a second behind Hamilton, with the session featuring lots of big gaps especially in the top ten.

Esteban Ocon split the AlphaTauris in sixth, with Norris eighth and over 1.1s behind Bottas’ time.

Alex Albon struggled to get up to speed and finished ninth, with Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top 10.

Sebastian Vettel wasn’t able to emulate his teammate’s success at Ferrari’s celebration as he was thirteenth, behind two other Ferrari-powered cars in Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Having announced their 2021 driver lineup yesterday, Racing Point had a tough first session as they ran 18th and 19th.

Sergio Perez, who’s losing his seat to Vettel in the Aston Martin rebrand, was ahead by four thousandths but two seconds off Bottas’ fastest lap.

However, both drivers ran the hard tyres throughout – alongside Nicolas Latifi – and Lance Stroll had an issue early on meaning he could only start his running with an hour to go.

Pos. Driver: Team: Time: Laps:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.879 33
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda +0.048 32
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.307 27
4 Lewis Hamilton Merrcedes +0.530 28
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +0.797 30
6 Esteban Ocon Renault +0.926 28
7 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda +0.960 31
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault +1.102 30
9 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda +1.189 34
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.261 25
11 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari +1.340 21
12 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari +1.345 25
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +1.388 27
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari +1.443 28
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault +1.578 33
16 George Russell (M) Williams-Mercedes +1.599 29
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari +1.672 25
18 Lance Stroll (H) Racing Point-BWT Mercedes +1.957 23
19 Sergio Perez (H) Racing Point-BWT Mercedes +1.961 29
20 Nicholas Latifi (H) Williams-Mercedes +2.155 32

All times set on soft tyres unless indicated