Montmelo, Spain, May 7 (EFE).- The Mercedes team of seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas fared the best here Friday in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, while Alpine turned heads with a solid performance.
Finland’s Bottas drove the fastest lap in Free Practice 1 at Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluyna in Montmelo, followed by Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Hamilton.
The Briton and Bottas finished one-two in FP2, while Verstappen, Hamilton’s main rival, dropped to ninth after exceeding track limits.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco was third in FP2, ahead of the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso. The Frenchman took the fourth spot and the Spanish two-time F1 champion slotted into fifth.
The AlphaTauri pair, Pierre Gasly of France and Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda, came in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) was eight and Mexico’s Sergio “Checo” Perez (Red Bull) completed the top 10, right behind his Dutch teammate.
The day’s major incident came in FP1, when Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) spun out on the reconfigured Turn 10 and ended up stranded in the gravel trap.
The Polish F1 veteran, who works for Alfa as a test driver, was behind the wheel in lieu of Kimi Raikkonen, who went on to drive the car in FP2.
Hamilton is in pursuit of a record-setting fifth consecutive triumph in the Spanish GP. If the British driver wins on Sunday, he will match Michael Schumacher in most titles overall at Montmelo at six.
But Verstappen, whose first Grand Prix victory was five years ago at Montmelo, will likely have something to say.
After three rounds, the reigning champion has 69 points in the driver standings, eight more than Verstappen. Hamilton won the Bahrain and Portugal races, while the Dutchman hoisted the trophy at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. EFE