PORTIMAO, Portugal – Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas split a pair of practice sessions for the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve Int’l Circuit.
Bottas was fastest overall, setting the quickest lap time during the first practice session at 1:19.648. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was second fastest overall as well as in the first session, .025 seconds off the pace set by Bottas.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Hamilton followed.
“In terms of pace, it was not a bad start – I think we are there or thereabouts,” said Bottas. “It’s going to be close, no doubt. Quite similar feelings to last year here, it’s a slippery tarmac and the rear of the car is pretty loose in places, so it’s not easy to get clean laps. For me, the softer we went with the compounds, the more tricky the car became, and the Medium tire looks to be working best.”
Hamilton led the way in the second session with a quick time of 1:19.837, with Verstappen again going second fastest, this time .143 seconds behind Hamilton’s fast lap.
“It’s a little grippier here this year but it was very windy today so I think everybody was struggling with balance and sliding around,” said Hamilton. “Not a massive amount of track evolution between the sessions – as it got hotter, the track got slower. This morning seemed to be a little bit better, then this afternoon it got warmer and windier so it seemed to make it harder for people to find time and work on their balance.”
Bottas was third fastest in the second session, followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and the Alpine of Fernando Alonso.