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F1 - Barcelona, FP1: Hamilton and Bottas off to a flying start in Spain

Mercedes goes a second clear in Free Practice 1

12 May 2017 - 11h38, by Olivier Ferret 

Mercedes set the pace in the opening session of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, with the three-time champion finishing almost a second clear of third-placed Kimij Räikkönen of Ferrari.

Defending Constructors’ champions Mercedes have brought a heavily revised car to the first of the 2017 season’s traditional European races and at the end of the first session the gap to the team’s rivals at the end of the first session was significant, with Räikkönen finishing 0.935s adrift of second-placed Valtteri Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth for Ferrari, just over a second behind Hamilton. The German recovered from an early session mechanical issue to briefly take top spot when team began to switch their drivers from the orange-banded hard tyres that had shaped the early time to the medium compound Pirelli rubber.

However, his time of 1:22.600s was quickly eclipsed by Bottas, before the Russian Grand Prix winner was edged to P2 by Hamilton’s time of 1:21.521. The Briton’s best lap was half a second quicker than his 2016 pole time.

With Raikkonen then improving to 1:22.456s, Vettel fell to fourth ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Milton Keynes-based team have also brought a major revision of their RB13 car to Barcelona and Verstappen made the most of the upgrades to get to within 1500ths of a second Vettel with a time of 1:22.706. The Dutch teenager’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished 0.378s behind in sixth place.

Kevin Magnussen made a good start to the weekend for Haas, winning the toss for the team’s upgrade package against team-mate Romain Grosjean and using it to take seventh place with a best tome of 1:23.670. Grosjean finished under a tenth of a second behind the Dane. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was ninth and the top 10 order was rounded by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz.

While Sainz could feel happy about opening outing of the weekend, there was no such joy for Spain’s other racer this weekend, Fernando Alonso.

The two-time champion’s McLaren ground to a halt just three corners into his opening lap of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with an oil leak blamed for the failure. And engine change was required and thus Alonso was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:21.521 28
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:21.550 30
03 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.456 24
04 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.600 23
05 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:22.706 22
06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:23.084 17
07 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:23.670 22
08 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:23.758 23
09 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:23.993 24
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Renault 1:24.004 21
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:24.188 23
12 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:24.324 22
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:24.400 24
14 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:24.618 34
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 1:24.642 18
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:24.966 23
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:25.182 24
18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:25.919 34
19 Sergey Sirotkin Renault F1 1:26.293 10
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda -:—.--- 1

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