Spanish GP, Practice One: Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two
Mercedes drivers closely matched in first session at Barcelona, with Silverstone winner Verstappen nearly one second behind; Vettel enjoys encouraging morning, while Haas surprise in top 10
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 14/08/20 1:46pm
Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes returned to the head of the order in opening practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Five days after being beaten for the first time this season at Silverstone by Red Bull, Mercedes were back on top on a very warm Friday morning at the Circuit de Catalunya.
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Max Verstappen, last Sunday's impressive winner, was third and nearly one second adrift of Bottas' pacesetting 1:16.785 time.
Hamilton finished just 0.039s behind his Mercedes team-mate in second place, with the world champions looking to make progress in their management of tyres in hot conditions.
"Verstappen won't be nine tenths behind when it matters, but I'm afraid Mercedes' start does rather set the scene for the weekend," said Sky F1's Martin Brundle.
Meanwhile, struggling Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a more competitive morning than arguably any point of the Silverstone double-header in his first session in a new Ferrari chassis.
After a fault was detected on his SF1000 monocoque he raced last weekend due to kerb damage, Vettel took the replacement to the fifth-fastest time and finished within 0.020s of team-mate Charles Leclerc.
Romain Grosjean was an unexpected sixth quickest and, with Kevin Magnussen finishing ninth, Haas were the big surprise performers of the morning having run towards the back so far in 2020.
The returning Sergio Perez in the lead Racing Point, with the Mexican the first driver in the top 10 to set his best time of the session on slower medium tyres rather than softs.
Alex Albon took eighth for Red Bull as he bids to find a breakthrough in finding more one-lap pace, while Racing Point's Lance Stroll just outpaced McLaren's to the final spot in the top half of the timesheet.
Williams, meanwhile, gave an F1 practice debut to Roy Nissany, their test driver for this season who is also competing in F2. The 25-year-old became just the second Israeli after his father, Chanoch, to take part in a grand prix weekend.
Although Nissany spun at Barcelona's Turn 10 during his debut session in the FW43, he finished just 0.3s behind Williams regular Nicholas Latifi at the bottom of the timesheet, and 3.8s off the overall pace, after completing 25 laps.
Nissany, driving in P1 in place of George Russell - who turned lollipop man at one of his stand-in's pit stops - did use a compound faster tyres compared to Latifi to set his best time of the session.
Chanoch Nissany drove for Minardi in practice at the 2005 Hungarian GP and finished 13 seconds off the pace.
Spanish GP Practice One Timesheet
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:16.785|
|2) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.039|
|3) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.939|
|4) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+1.185|
|5) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+1.196|
|6) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+1.506|
|7) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+1.686|
|8) Alexander Albon||Red Bull||+1.821|
|9) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1.835|
|10) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+1.858|
|11) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.948|
|12) Esteban Ocon||Renault||+1.951|
|13) Lando Norris||McLaren||+1.959|
|14) Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+2.103|
|15) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.132|
|16) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+2.196|
|17) Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+2.360|
|18) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+2.445|
|19) Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+3.549|
|20) Roy Nissany||Williams||+3.879|