Valtteri Bottas leads disrupted FP1 session in Barcelona

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Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas led the way in Friday morning's first free practice session in Barcelona, edging out by a comfortable margin team mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

The session was marked by a fair number of clumsy spins and visits to the gravel trap for many drivers who appeared to caught out by the lack of grip of Pirelli's tyres.

Spanish Grand Prix - Free Practice 1

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:18.148s32
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.997s+ 0.849s22
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1:19.098s+ 0.950s24
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1:19.187s+ 1.039s26
5Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:19.499s+ 1.351s19
6Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:19.858s+ 1.710s26
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:19.871s+ 1.723s11
8Romain GrosjeanHaas1:19.906s+ 1.758s24
9Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:20.083s+ 1.935s28
10Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:20.508s+ 2.360s29
11Kevin MagnussenHaas1:20.637s+ 2.489s28
12Charles LeclercSauber1:20.665s+ 2.517s23
13Sergio PérezForce India1:20.924s+ 2.776s36
14Marcus EricssonSauber1:20.984s+ 2.836s18
15Carlos SainzRenault1:21.053s+ 2.905s28
16Esteban OconForce India1:21.144s+ 2.996s27
17Nico HülkenbergRenault1:21.159s+ 3.011s26
18Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:21.373s+ 3.225s28
19Robert KubicaWilliams1:21.510s+ 3.362s24
20Lance StrollWilliams1:22.756s+ 4.608s15

The European leg of the 2018 F1 season kicked off under a clear blue Spanish sky and warms temperatures in Barcelona, with a session where everyone was eager to trial their various upgrades and updates.

Williams saw Robert Kubica on duty for his first of three FP1 sessions that he'll be enjoying this year, the Pole temporarily replacing Sergey Sirotkin. He was quite logically one of the first to venture out when the lights went green.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were also quick to get to work at the wheel their modified MCL33 which sports a whole new and striking nose assembly.

The early part of the sessions was marked by several off-track excursions, with Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Marcus Ericsson, Brendon Hartley and Romain Grosjean all visiting the gravel traps, fortunately without any consequence.

Bottas recovered quickly to put himself at the top of the timesheet after the first 30 minutes, with Hamilton and Vettel hot on his heels.

Shortly after however, the session was under the control of the VSC when Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo put his RB14 in the barriers at the Turn 4 right-hander.

When the session resumed it was but a short respite as Williams Lance Stroll lost it at Turn 5, prompting another virtual safety car.

The free practice run concluded with Bottas, setting his time on the soft compound, remaining on top from Hamilton and Vettel, the Finn achieving in the process a new lap record of the Circuit de Catalunya.

Max Verstappen ended the morning fourth, in front of Kimi Raikkonen, while Alonso validated his McLaren's updates with the sixth fastest time.

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