Under clear skies and warm temperatures, Robert Kubica, in place of Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo for FP1, set the initial P1 benchmark at 1m27.006s on hard tires.
But Kubica was almost immediately demoted by Bottas’ 1m21.899, also fixed on the rubber with the white walls.
Just after Nikita Mazepin lost the rear of his Haas while accelerating out of the fast left turn 7, starting to the left before reaching the curbs of turn 8 right uphill, Hamilton took over at the top. .
His 1m21.014s was also put on the toughest and there was still time to beat until Verstappen had his fastest first lap on the same pulley a few minutes later – a 1m20.405s.
The championship leaders continued on a long opening round, but were briefly sacked at the top of the times by Fernando Alonso’s 1m19.950 just after 10 minutes of the session.
Alonso’s time was set on the softer tires, but didn’t remain the benchmark as long as Hamilton’s hard tire race included a quicker lap moments later – a 1.19.675s.
After a lull in the action leading up to the halfway point, Sebastian Vettel went fastest with a 1m19.234s as the majority of the peloton switched to soft tires.
Hamilton’s first lap on the soft tires put the Briton back in P1 with a 1m18.808s, while Bottas had to retreat from his first race on the red-walled tires sliding widely into the long 3-right turn.
But his second time got him just 0.030 seconds behind his teammate before Hamilton improved again with a 1m18.627s.
After a trip to the pits, Bottas was able to take the lead over Hamilton with a 1m18.504s, who had the fastest time of the session in the second sector, where Hamilton was slower than his personal best on his fastest lap. fast, although it remained faster in the opening and closing segments.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Red Bull cars had been in their garages for much of the middle part of the session and the team lost more track time when the session was red flagged 15 minutes from time after Kubica had lost the rear of Raikkonen’s Alfa through the reprofiled. Turn 10 long left.
Kubica turned back and ran aground in the gravel beyond the corner, which meant his car had to be pulled aside and nearly 10 minutes were erased from the clock during recovery.
When the session resumed with just under 10 minutes to go, the Red Bull drivers made their first appearance on the softs.
Perez led the field when the session resumed, but his time ended well towards Bottas, while Verstappen had to abandon his first lap after catching up with traffic.
After being assured that he had the necessary battery charge to make another attempt in the next lap, although he was warned that his tires were hotter than ideal due to an additional warm-up lap, Verstappen left.
He tied Bottas in the first two sectors and finished 0.033 slower, but seemed to waste time going deep at Turn 10 and then hitting the curbs hard at the final chicane.
Verstappen nevertheless placed second to split the Mercedes pair, Hamilton 0.123s slower than Bottas.
Lando Norris’ soft tire lap just before the red flag kept him fourth, 0.440s behind Bottas, and the McLaren driver was followed by the two Ferraris.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
The Scuderia moved away from the rest of the field using medium tires after the initial hard work, while Charles Leclerc – who finished with the fastest time in the session in the intermediate section – and Carlos Sainz Jr finished fifth. and sixth with late improvements. on yellow-walled tires.
Pierre Gasly finished seventh for AlphaTauri ahead of Vettel, who lost a piece of the front wing of his Aston Martin as he slammed hard on the curbs at Turn 8 on his first lap flying over the softs in the middle of the session.
Perez’s soft tire lap after the restart was only enough for the ninth, with Lance Stroll completing the top 10.
Alonso finished 15th ahead of Williams duo Nicholas Latifi and Roy Nissany, who was another FP1 stand – in this case for George Russell.
Mazepin had been able to back up out of the gravel after his early start and eventually moved up the back of the field.
Spanish F1 Grand Prix – FP1 Results