The street vendors of Monte Carlo and Baku had given him headaches. But in a traditional circuit like Paul Ricard in France, Mercedes warned that he is back and wants to recover what was his. In the first contact with the track, the cars of the champion team were ahead of the Red Bulls.
Finn Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) was the fastest, ahead of his teammate the sevenfold English world champion Lewis Hamilton, in the first rehearsal for the French Grand Prix, the seventh of the Formula One World Championship.
Bottas covered, in the best of his 24 laps -with a soft tire-, the 5,842 meters of the French track in one minute, 33 seconds and 448 thousandths, 375 less than Hamilton and with 432 of advantage over the Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull ) -leader of the World Cup, with 105 points, four more than the previous one-, which marked the third time of a session that his Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez finished fourth.
Czech, who after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two Sundays ago is third in the World Cup (69 points), repeated the layout of the Le Castellet track 25 times and in the best of them stopped the time at 1: 34.193, 745 thousandths of Bottas and one tenth over the French Esteban Ocon, recently renewed until 2024 with Alpine, which marked the fifth time of the trial.
Alonso, the Frenchman’s partner in what was formerly Renault – he would play with which the Asturian won his two World Cups (2005 and 2006) -, registered seventh in the times table – behind Australian Daniel Ricciardo – of a test that ended with 26 degrees centigrade in the environment and 40 on the asphalt.
The Spaniard did 21 laps and stopped the clock at 1: 34.693, one second and two tenths behind Bottas, in a session in which almost everyone set their best time on the soft compound. Behind him were the French Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), the British Lando Norris (McLaren) and the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), who closed the top 10.
Where were the Ferraris, performing well in Monaco and Azerbaijan, the last two rounds? As expected, without the advantages of a street map, they fell on the time table. Charles Leclerc was 11th, while Carlos Sainz, who went out on the fourth of the fifteen corners of the Le Castellet track, smashing the soft tire on the loophole sandpaper, had to turn on the hard compound and finished sixteenth, one second and eight tenths behind Bottas.
The Spaniard did 24 laps in a session in which the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel lost control of his Aston Martin in the complicated Turn 11 – in the main incident, without consequences – although he registered a place ahead of the Madrid in the table of times.
Who closed the records, four and a half seconds behind Bottas’s time, was the Israeli Roy Nissani, who got on the Williams of the Englishman George Russell, who will recover it in the afternoon session, which will begin at 10 (Argentine time) and will will televise ESPN 3.
Times of the first training
.1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) 1: 33,448
.two. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) a0.335
.3. Max Verstappen (HOL / Red Bull) 0.432
.4. Sergio Pérez (MEX / Red Bull) a0.745
.5. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine) a0.881
.6. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / McLaren) a1.196
.7. Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine) a1.245
.8. Pierre Gasly (FRA / Alpha Tauri) a1.251
.9. Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren) a1.259
10. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN / Alpha Tauri) a1.399
11. Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari) a1.502
12. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo) a1.668
13. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN / Alfa Romeo) a1.687
14. Lance Stroll (CAN / Aston Martin) a1.827
15. Sebastian Vettel (GER / Aston Martin) a1.841
16. Carlos Sainz (ESP / Ferrari) a1.894
17. Nicolas Latifi (CAN / Williams) a2.164
18. Nikita Mazepin (RUS / Haas) a3.203
19. Mick Schumacher (GER / Haas) a3.881
20. Roy Nissany (ISR / Williams) a4,433.
With information from EFE