Valtteri Bottas set a rapid pace in the first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix and beat the previous track record at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Mercedes driver set a best time of 1’18.148 on the soft tyres, beating the previous record of 1’19.149 which was established Lewis Hamilton set pole position for last year’s race.

The first 90 minutes of running on the surfaced track in windy conditions was a lively affair. Daniel Ricciardo caused a Virtual Safety Car period when his Red Bull got away from him at turn four and made light contact with the barrier.

He was far from the only driver to be caught out by his car. Lance Stroll provoked another VSC period later in the session when he spun his Williams into the gravel. Robert Kubica, who made his return to official F1 action for the first time since 2010, also had a spin in the other Williams.

The Mercedes pair topped the times but Hamilton was over eight tenths of a second slower than his team mate. Sebastian Vettel was next, the only other driver to get within a second of Bottas.

Fernando Alonso was a strong sixth fastest for McLaren as they evaluated the radical new nose design on their MCL33. Team mate Stoffel Vandoorne joined him in the top 10.

Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc were just outside the top 10 but came dangerously close to each other on track. Leclerc pulled out to pass Magnussen who then moved away from the racing line at the end of the straight, forcing the angry Sauber driver to back off.

First practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’18.148

+0.849 Lewis Hamilton – 1’18.997

+0.950 Sebastian Vettel – 1’19.098

+1.039 Max Verstappen – 1’19.187

+1.351 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’19.499

+1.710 Fernando Alonso – 1’19.858

+1.723 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.871

+1.758 Romain Grosjean – 1’19.906

+1.935 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’20.083

+2.360 Pierre Gasly – 1’20.508

+2.489 Kevin Magnussen – 1’20.637

+2.517 Charles Leclerc – 1’20.665

+2.776 Sergio Perez – 1’20.924

+2.836 Marcus Ericsson – 1’20.984

+2.905 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’21.053

+2.996 Esteban Ocon – 1’21.144

+3.011 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’21.159

+3.225 Brendon Hartley – 1’21.373

+3.362 Robert Kubica – 1’21.510

+4.608 Lance Stroll – 1’22.756

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2018 Spanish Grand Prix articles