Mercedes set the pace in the opening session of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, with the three-time champion finishing almost a second clear of third-placed Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari.
Defending Constructors’ champions Mercedes have brought a heavily revised car to the first of the 2017 season’s traditional European races and at the end of the first session the gap to the team’s rivals at the end of the first session was significant, with Räikkönen finishing 0.935s adrift of second-placed Valtteri Bottas.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth for Ferrari, just over a second behind Hamilton. The German recovered from an early session mechanical issue to briefly take top spot when team began to switch their drivers from the orange-banded hard tyres that had shaped the early time to the medium compound Pirelli rubber.
However, his time of 1:22.600s was quickly eclipsed by Bottas, before the Russian Grand Prix winner was edged to P2 by Hamilton’s time of 1:21.521. The Briton’s best lap was half a second quicker than his 2016 pole time.
With Raikkonen then improving to 1:22.456s, Vettel fell to fourth ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Milton Keynes-based team have also brought a major revision of their RB13 car to Barcelona and Verstappen made the most of the upgrades to get to within 1500ths of a second Vettel with a time of 1:22.706. The Dutch teenager’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished 0.378s behind in sixth place.
Kevin Magnussen made a good start to the weekend for Haas, winning the toss for the team’s upgrade package against team-mate Romain Grosjean and using it to take seventh place with a best tome of 1:23.670. Grosjean finished under a tenth of a second behind the Dane. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was ninth and the top 10 order was rounded by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz.
While Sainz could feel happy about opening outing of the weekend, there was no such joy for Spain’s other racer this weekend, Fernando Alonso.
The two-time champion’s McLaren ground to a halt just three corners into his opening lap of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with an oil leak blamed for the failure. And engine change was required and thus Alonso was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.
2017 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.521s – 28
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:21.550s 0.029s 30
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.456s 0.935s 24
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.600s 1.079s 23
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:22.706s 1.185s 22
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.084s 1.563s 17
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:23.670s 2.149s 22
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:23.758s 2.237s 23
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:23.993s 2.472s 24
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:24.004s 2.483s 21
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:24.188s 2.667s 23
12 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:24.324s 2.803s 22
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:24.400s 2.879s 24
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1:24.618s 3.097s 34
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:24.642s 3.121s 18
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:24.966s 3.445s 23
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:25.182s 3.661s 24
18 Lance Stroll Williams 1:25.919s 4.398s 34
19 Sergey Sirotkin Renault 1:26.293s 4.772s 10
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda – – 1