PORTIMAO: Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (pix) was fastest ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the first practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Friday.
Bottas was 0.025sec ahead of Verstappen with the other Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, third.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was back in fifth, 0.319sec behind his Mercedes teammate Bottas in a session without significant incident.
There was a new name in the shape of British driver Callum Ilott in 17th place, 2.158sec behind Bottas, driving the Alfa Romeo usually occupied by Antonio Giovinazzi.
Ilott, the 22-year-old runner-up in Formula Two last season, was signed this week by Alfa Romeo as second reserve driver after failing to land a fulltime race seat for 2021.
Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur said Ilott is “without doubt one of the most talented drivers coming through the ranks”.
Hamilton leads Verstappen by a single point after a win each in the two opening races of the season. – AFP