Portuguese GP: Bottas pips Verstappen in Practice 1

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Just 0.025s divided Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen in Practice 1 at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Much like last year's first race at Portimao, the session was dominated by drivers struggling to get the soft tyre in the right operating window as Bottas needed several laps before delivering the expected step in performance.

Verstappen meanwhile had strong vibrations on his set of the red-striped tyres as he went second, jokingly claiming he would require a trip to the dentist to fix the broken teeth such was the shaking.

Encouragingly for Red Bull, Sergio Perez moved up to third with his final lap of the session, just under two-tenths off the pace set by Bottas.

Also making late gains was Charles Leclerc for Ferrari in fourth. His time dropped Lewis Hamilton to fifth as the seven-time world champion struggled with the balance of his Mercedes and with the soft tyre, with his best laps coming toward the end of a 13-lap stint.

Pierre Gasly was sixth for AlphaTauri with George Russell an impressive seventh for Williams, highlighting how important it was to turn on the tyres for a single lap.

Lando Norris recovered from a slow start to take eighth for McLaren ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. Esteban Ocon completed the top 10 for Alpine.

With the 2021 grid remaining as close as ever, Lance Stroll made it eight different teams in the top 11 for Aston Martin.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was four-tenths down on teammate Ocon in 14th as the two-time world champion turned his first laps on the Portimao 'rollercoaster'.

Sebastian Vettel was 16th after providing a brief moment of comedy when he pulled up outside the McLaren garage upon returning to the pits.

Ferrari Academy member, and newly announced Alfa Romeo reserve, Callum Illot finally entered his first F1 practice session, and impressed finishing just four-tenths behind Kimi Raikkonen in 17th.

Mick Schumacher pipped Nicholas Latifi into 18th, as Nikita Mazepin once again brought up the field in the second Haas.

Full lap times from Practice 1 can be seen below: