Madrid Desk, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the first and second free-practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit Friday
The Finnish Mercedes driver’s fastest lap at the 5.245 kilometer track came in at one minute, 16 second and 989 milliseconds, 207 milliseconds ahead of his teammate and current world championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen notched the third-fastest lap in Tuscany and his teammate Alexander Albon was the fourth fastest round the circuit, which is hosting an F1 Grand Prix for the first time.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon recorded the fifth and sixth-quickest respectively and Sergio Pérez of Racing Point logged the seventh-fastest. But the Mexican driver tagged Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen coming out of the pit-lane, an incident that is being investigated and could cost Pérez points.
Pérez’s future is currently up in the air after Racing Point announced he would be replaced next year by Sebastian Vettel, who is moving in from Ferrari to join the team when it rebrands as Aston Martin.
Speaking to German channel nt-v on Friday Pérez said he was approaching his future with calm but that he would first concentrate on Sunday’s race.
In a conversation with the same outlet, four-time world champion Vettel said he was excited to start his new step with Aston Martin and hoped to help the team on and off the track.
Vettel, who has 53 race wins to his name, is currently paired up with Charles Leclerc at struggling Ferrari team. The German will be replaced next year by Spanish driver Carlos Sainz.
Currently with McLaren, Sainz was 13th-fastest on Friday’s practice session and his teammate, Lando Norris, was the first to crash on the circuit.
The winner of last week’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, had the eighth-fast lap and Raikkonen had the ninth. EFE-EPA