Report: Valtteri Bottas fastest in FP1 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

16-04-2021 11:28 | Updated: 16-04-2021 11:42
Report: Valtteri Bottas fastest in FP1 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

After a three-week break, Formula 1 returns with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy and the first session of the weekend has been completed. A continuous amount of changes at the top were overshadowed by the red-flagging of the session caused by damage to both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. However, Valtteri Bottas was able to top the rest of the grid at Imola.

Mercedes duo on top

After looking like they were behind Red Bull at the Bahrain GP, Mercedes have come out stronger in Italy. Valtteri Bottas was the fastest in FP1, setting a time of 1:16.564, with Lewis Hamilton finishing behind his teammate, with a time of 1:16.605. With the driver duo sitting on top of the grid already, the weekend is looking good for Mercedes.

Confusion at Red Bull

Max Verstappen was, once again, behind Lewis Hamilton, this time finishing third in the session with a time of 1:16.622. The Dutchman was expected to be at the top of the standings when the session finished but was beaten by Bottas and Hamilton in the final few minutes. Sergio Perez once again struggled in his debut season with Red Bull, this time being involved in a collision with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, which resulted in the session being red-flagged.

Ferrari on their way back?

Last season was Ferrari’s worst in 40 years but following a successful season opener, things seem to be back on track for the Italian team. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz found themselves finish in fourth and sixth, being split by Pierre Gasly, and only 0.232 and 0.324 behind Bottas on pole. Sainz and Gasly set the exact same time on their fastest lap of the session, a 1:16.888, so Ferrari will be extremely pleased with how they have started the weekend.

Quiet day for McLaren but strong day for Williams

After Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo scored strong points for McLaren in Bahrain, many would’ve expected the team to be at the top of the timings sheet in FP1 today, but it was Williams’ drivers who looked stronger. Nicholas Latifi finished in 9th, Ricciardo in 10th, George Russell in 11th and Norris in 13th.

Good and bad for Alpine and Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel’s struggles for Aston Martin continued today, as the four-time World Champion could only set a lap time which placed him in 14th. His teammate Lance Stroll was able to find himself in the top 10 in 8th but was beaten by Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard set a lap time of 1:17.457, which was the best of the rest on the day. Esteban Ocon struggled once again and was a part of the collision which saw the session red-flagged.

Rookies struggle in Imola

All three rookies were at the bottom of the placings today. Yuki Tsunoda found himself in 20th, with both Haas drivers ahead of him. Despite spinning twice, Nikita Mazepin set a lap time of 1:18.823 which topped the rookies. Mick Schumacher finished the session in 19th.

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