Valtteri Bottas finished just ahead of Max Verstappen to top the timesheets in first practice for the Portuguese GP, with Mercedes and Red Bull – true to form – neck and neck to start the Portimao weekend.
Bottas has taken a back seat in the title race to start the 2021 season, with Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen winning a thrilling race each, but found pace early on in Round Three and appeared the most comfortable in tricky low-grip conditions around the Algarve’s ‘rollercoaster’ of a circuit.
He led Verstappen by 0.025s with a 1:19.648 in his Mercedes.
- Portuguese GP: When to watch every session live on Sky Sports F1
Both Verstappen, who has small upgrades to his floor this weekend, and Hamilton, who finished down in fifth and 0.3s off the pace, struggled to hook up in a flying lap, with Max complaining of soft-tyre vibrations.
Sergio Perez was third in the other Red Bull, with Charles Leclerc just behind in fourth – the position the in-form Monegasque has qualified in for both 2021 Grands Prix so far for Ferrari.
More to follow.