Portugal Grand Prix 2021: Bottas fastest in FP1, Hamilton down in fifth

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the opening practice session of the F1 Portuguese Grand Prix.

After Bottas and Max Verstappen traded times throughout the whole session it was Bottas who scored first place in the first hour of the Portuguese GP with a fastest time of 1m19.648s.

Despite Verstappen struggling with excessive tyre vibrations in the latter stages of the practice session, the Red Bull crossed the line only 0.025s behind Bottas, leaving him second fastest.

Despite spending 20 minutes in the early stages of the practice sat in the pit lane optimising and fine tuning the Red Bull, Sergio Perez took third fastest only 0.198s behind his teammate Verstappen.

It was another smooth ride for Charles Leclerc as he came in fourth fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton who came in fifth.

Hamilton’s Mercedes suffered from balance issues early into the practice session resulting in needing to box, but despite this, Hamilton still has some work to do in this afternoon’s FP2.

To complete the top ten are Pierre Gasly, George Russell, Lando Norris in eighth (a fall down from last weekend’s podium), Carlos Sainz in ninth and Esteban Ocon in 10th.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll ended the session in 11th.

Daniel Ricciardo settled for 12th place on the soft tyres followed by the Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda.

Yet another disappointing start to a race weekend for Vettel as he finished in 16th. It appears he is still getting used to the new team changes as Vettel found himself in the Ferrari pit lane until the realisation settled.

A new face on the F1 track sat in 17th position and that was Callum Ilott in the Alfa Romeo, only half a second away from his teammate Räikkönen who wound up 15th, rather impressive for an F1 first.

To conclude the standings of FP1; Mick Schumacher in 18th, Nikolas Latifi in 19th and Nikita Mazepin in 20th.