Bottas
Credit: Mercedes' Twitter

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in a disrupted opening practice session of the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

While Bottas was fastest with a best effort of 1m16.622s, all eyes were on Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon who caused a red flag early in the second half of the session.

Due to F1 technical issues, it is not entirely clear at this stage what happened, but it has been confirmed that the Red Bull of Perez collided with Ocon, who was on a slow lap at the time, forcing both cars to pull over to the side of the circuit exiting the Villeneuve chicane.

TV images showed that Perez had suffered damage to his left rear wheel, having lost the rear of his car as a result of the damage exiting the chicane, although Ocon’s Alpine had no obvious damage.

Once the session was resumed it was Bottas who jumped to the top of the times with a best effort of 1m16.564s, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton was 0.041s further back in second.

The Red Bull of Max Verstappen was third fastest, while Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly had strong sessions, ending up fourth and fifth.

Carlos Sainz was sixth, one place ahead of his compatriot Fernando Alonso, while Lance Stroll was the fastest of the Aston Martin drivers in eighth.

Williams looked strong in the opening session with Nicholas Latifi in ninth and George Russell in 11th, but the same could not be said for McLaren who were largely anonymous.

Daniel Ricciardo could only manage 10th, while Lando Norris was further back in 13th, in what was a difficult session for the team.

Sebastian Vettel struggled once again in his Aston Martin, ending up 14th while Haas driver Nikita Mazepin had yet another session to forget.

He had two spins at either end of the session, but the latter one was after FP1 had officially ended – Mazepin spun just before the pit entry and damaged the front of his car.

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