Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton on F1's Portimao debut
Hamilton three-tenths off the pace of his Mercedes team-mate in Practice One for Portuguese Grand Prix
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 23/10/20 2:47pm
Valtteri Bottas set the pace ahead of Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's debut at the 'rollercoaster' Portimao circuit, with Mercedes stealing an early march on Red Bull in Portuguese GP Practice One.
The Algarve track, with its big elevation changes and sweeping corners, provided an exciting challenge for the drivers in Friday's opening session as the sport returned to Portugal for the first time in 24 years, with several spins, but it was 2020's dominant outfit who settled in straight away.
Bottas and Hamilton traded fastest times on the medium tyre, but the Finn - who was dealt a huge championship blow with his DNF at the previous race in Germany - characteristically started fast with a 1:18.410.
Hamilton, chasing a 92nd victory this weekend which would put him ahead of Michael Schumacher in the record books, was three-tenths off the pace of his team-mate, who has been fastest in six consecutive P1s.
But Mercedes had an 0.7s buffer back to closest rival Max Verstappen, albeit with the in-form Dutchman, who was the first driver to spin on Friday morning, setting his quickest time on the hard compound.
Charles Leclerc ensured Ferrari made an unexpectedly quick start as he finished fourth, ahead of Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon.
F1's debut at the 'rollercoaster'
The Portimao circuit, opened just over a decade ago, has only welcomed a handful of the current grid for races, and in different categories, so errors were aplenty in Practice One.
Even Leclerc, almost a second faster than struggling team-mate Sebastian Vettel, made an error on the unforgiving loop, almost beaching his Ferrari in the track-side gravel.
Nicholas Latifi, bottom of the timesheets, was another to take his exploration a step further than expected.
Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, had his opening laps deleted for infringing track limits, although still finished up in sixth for a McLaren team who are hoping to make a much-needed step with their updates this weekend.
He was just ahead of Sergio Perez in the Racing Point, one of McLaren's big rivals in the battle for third, and, surprisingly, Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo.
Daniel Ricciardo, on the back of his podium at the Nurburgring in a Renault which continues to improve, was only ninth, while team-mate Esteban Ocon was 19th and finished the session with a mechanical issue.
Portuguese GP Practice One Timesheet
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:18.410|
|2) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.339|
|3) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.781|
|4) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.899|
|5) Alexander Albon||Red Bull||+0.955|
|6) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.031|
|7) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+1.497|
|8) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+1.544|
|9) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+1.648|
|10) Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+1.714|
|11) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+1.790|
|12) Lando Norris||McLaren||+1.797|
|13) Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+1.868|
|14) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+2.436|
|15) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+2.544|
|16) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.599|
|17) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+2.759|
|18) George Russell||Williams||+2.964|
|19) Esteban Ocon||Renault||+3.263|
|20) Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+3.644|