Valterri Bottas topped the timing sheets with Lewis Hamilton running second-last in a disrupted session after Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz hit the wall.
Mercedes lost out on long-running time though, with both Bottas and Hamilton flat-spotting on tyres they would’ve expected to use later in the weekend for data gathering.
After the session James Allison told Sky Sports F1 that they had learned nothing from the session.
Bottas completed the fewest laps of those who ran for the whole session setting his fastest time very early on with the medium tyre, but was still fastest, half a second ahead of second-placed and soft-clad Daniel Ricciardo with Max Verstappen snatching third late on from Sergio Perez.
Latifi suffered the biggest crash of the session around 55 minutes in, as he got a swapper on and then lost control to the outside of turn ten, slamming backwards into the barrier and bringing out the red flag.
Sainz had his shunt earlier in the session, he hit the wall at turn seven after seemingly pushing too hard. He was able to return to the pits under his own steam and only caused a brief Virtual Safety Car, but the Spaniard took no further part in the session.
Racing on home turf, Daniil Kvyat also suffered a spin shortly after the Sainz yellow flags, with Romain Grosjean also pirouetting and George Russell suffering a big lock-up.
Hamilton will equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix wins if he’s first on Sunday but struggled today, he went out for his soft run as Sainz hit the wall so was unable to complete that and then ruined his hard tyres with a lock-up. The eventual long run laps he did do at the end of the session however were very fast and competitive.
On a circuit Red Bull sometimes struggle on, Verstappen’s third was a decent effort in a pretty strung out top six.
The Racing Points completed the top five with Esteban Ocon a tenth behind Stroll in sixth. Kvyat finished seventh despite his spin, but only a quarter of a tenth ahead of Alex Albon, while the other Honda-powered car of Pierre Gasly completed the top ten.
Sebastian Vettel was the lead Ferrari – a rare feat for him this season – half a second ahead of his teammate while Lando Norris was also off the pace down in thirteenth.
|1||Valterri Bottas (M)||Mercedes||1:34.923||13|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||+0.654||22|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||+0.873||23|
|5||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||+1.042||21|
|7||Daniil Kvyat (M)||AlphaTauri-Honda||+1.307||22|
|8||Alex Albon||Red Bull Racing-Honda||+1.331||24|
|9||Sebastian Vettel (M)||Ferrari||+1.400||23|
|10||Pierre Gasly (M)||AlphaTauri-Honda||+1.783||25|
|11||Charles Leclerc (H)||Ferrari||+1.973||23|
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr. (M)||McLaren-Renault||+2.047||8|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||+2.278||17|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||+2.307||23|
|16||Kevin Magnussen (H)||Haas-Ferrari||+2.507||22|
|17||George Russell (H)||Williams-Mercedes||+2.672||24|
|18||Romain Grosjean (M)||Haas-Ferrari||+2.726||24|
|19||Lewis Hamilton (H)||Mercedes||+2.793||18|
|20||Nicholas Latifi (?)||Williams-Mercedes||+2.861||11|