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Spanish Grand Prix: FP1 Results

What happened in the first practice session of the weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix?

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Max Verstappen tops the first practice session of the weekend in Barcelona.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen topped Free Practice One at the Spanish Grand Prix. Credit: Mark Thompson via Getty Images

Max Verstappen dominated the first practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix as he topped FP1 with a 1:14.606, going over seven tenths quicker than his team-mate Sergio Perez.

Heading into the weekend

After an action-packed Monaco Grand Prix last time round which saw Verstappen take his fourth victory in 2023, Formula 1 returns to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix.

One of the big changes to the Montmeló track this season is the removal of the final chicane. Turns 14 and 15 will now revert to how they were pre 2007 as two fast corners. This is to make it easier for the cars to follow more closely and create more overtaking opportunities.

First Practice underway at the Spanish Grand Prix

As the drivers filtered out of the paddock to the end of the pitlane, Free Practice One got underway with Lance Stroll first to set a lap out on track. As the drivers started to put in their first laps of the session, Verstappen would put in the fastest time with a 1:17.425 on the test tyre.

Eight minutes into the session, Verstappen extended his lead at the top of the timesheet on the medium tyres by nearly nine tenths of a second over his team-mate Perez. Nico Hulkenberg put in a solid time on the soft tyres to go third. Yuki Tsunoda would soon go faster than this but was still over nine tenths of the fastest time.

A bit of theme started to occur early on in FP1 with Perez going fastest, only to be replaced at the top of the times a few moments later by his team-mate as Verstappen put in a 1:15.945, nearly half a second quicker than the Mexican driver.

A quarter of the way through the session, Hulkenberg regained the third best time but was still nearly a second and a half of the pace. Tsunoda would then go third fastest a few minutes later.

Carlos Sainz would then find himself best of the rest behind both Red Bull’s. However, he was still over a second behind the flying Dutchman. Fernando Alonso would then go quicker than his fellow countryman, going over a tenth of a second quicker than then Ferrari driver.

20 minutes into the session, the track started to evolve and the times started to get quicker. Pierre Gasly would separate both Red Bull drivers to go second fastest as he cut the gap to Verstappen to just four tenths. His team-mate Esteban Ocon would then go fourth fastest on the medium tyre.

Midway point in the session

As we approached the hallway mark in the session, Perez would go fastest on the soft tyres with a 1:15.374. Verstappen would then go over seven tenths quicker on the same tyre with a 1:14.606. Kevin Magnussen then went third fastest on the timesheet but was still over 1.7 seconds of the pace of the leader.

With 20 minutes to go in FP1, more drivers started to put on the soft tyres with the hope of improving their current lap times. Both Alfa Romeo drivers in Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas would go third and fourth fastest in the session soon as they found themselves 1.3 seconds behind Verstappen at the top.

Lando Norris would then go quicker than both the Alfa Romeo’s but was soon beaten by his former team-mate in Sainz who cut the gap down to Verstappen to 1.1 seconds. Charles Leclerc would then go slightly quicker than his Ferrari team-mate.

The closing stages in Barcelona

As we entered the final ten minutes of FP1, Nyck de Vries would go quicker than both of the Ferrari’s as he put in a great time to cut the gap to his fellow countryman to less than nine tenths. With the track continuing to evolve, Ocon would go third fastest, five hundredths of a second behind Perez in second.

Mercedes’ upgrades didn’t seem to show in first practice as George Russell found himself in tenth and Lewis Hamilton in P12 in the final five minutes of the session. Gasly and Logan Sargeant had a moment in the late stages of FP1 as both drivers made contact with each other. Alonso moved himself up to P6 as the session came to an end in Barcelona.

Verstappen would top the first practice session of the weekend, with Perez finishing behind him to make it a Red Bull 1-2. Ocon would round out the top three in FP1.

Final Results

Next up at the Spanish Grand Prix is Free Practice Two.

Feature Image Credit: (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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