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FP1 Report: Bottas tops the session, Verstappen P2 despite tyre vibrations

FP1 Report: Bottas tops the session, Verstappen P2 despite tyre vibrations

30-04-2021 12:30 Last update: 12:41

Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes have laid an early marker in the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend by setting the fastest time in the opening practice session. The Mercedes duo recorded over 60 laps between them. Max Verstappen had vibrations on his soft tyres but finished only 0.025 seconds behind Bottas. Sergio Perez rounded out the top three. 

Verstappen reported on the team radio that he needed to visit the dentist due to the serious vibrations. Lewis Hamilton had trouble with the balance of his car and lost a couple of runs on the soft tyres due to making small mistakes.  

Ferrari again looked strong in the opening practice session with Charles Leclerc finishing fourth. Hamilton completed the top five. 

This is how it happened

Sergio Perez emerged from the pits first, with the rest of the field joining him pretty soon after given the nature of the shortened practice sessions in 2021. A cooling fan from Carlos Sainz's Ferrari dropped at the end of the pitlane creating an interesting start to the session. A steward retrieved the part after the drivers made swerves to avoid the part. 

Bottas posted the first fast time. A 1:23.778 moved him far ahead of the field in the opening exchanges. A time the Finnish driver improved on in his subsequent lap. After 15 minutes, most drivers had recorded between 8-9 laps. But Verstappen sat in the garage during this period of time. 

Usual suspects

Hamilton reported on the team radio that his car was "undrivable" with the current balance settings. At this point, the British driver sat 0.943 seconds behind his teammate. Verstappen's first timed lap virtually matched Bottas before he toppled it the next time around. 

Bottas returned to the top of the timesheets on his first soft tyre run. He only just managed to beat Verstappen, who set his time on the hard compound tyre. Fuel loads and engine modes unknown.

Sebastian Vettel was well off the pace with a P16. George Russell managed to finish P7 with a 1:20.529, just 0.881 off the man who he crashed with last weekend. 

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