Finnish Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) was the fastest, ahead of his partner the sevenfold English world champion Lewis hamilton, in the first rehearsal for the French Grand Prix, the seventh of Formula One World Cup, in the Paul Ricard circuit; where the spanish Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) were seventh and sixteenth.
Bottas, covered, in the best of his 24 laps -with a soft tire-, the 5,842 meters of the French track in one minute, 33 seconds and 448 thousandths, 375 less than Hamilton and with 432 of advantage over the Dutch Max verstappen (Red Bull) –World Cup leader, with 105 points, four more than the previous one, which marked the third time of a session that his Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez finished fourth.
‘Checo’, who, after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two Sundays ago is third in the World Cup (69 points), repeated the layout of the Le Castellet track 25 times and in the best of them stopped the clock in 1: 34.193 ; to 745 thousandths of Bottas and with a tenth above the French Esteban Ocon, recently renewed -until 2024- with Alpine, which marked the fifth time of the essay.
Alonso, seventh after 21 laps
Alonso, partner of the Frenchman in what was previously Renault – he would scout with which the Asturian won his two World Cups (2005 and 2006) -, registered seventh in the times table of a test that ended with 26 degrees Celsius in the environment and 40 on the asphalt.
Fernando gave 21 laps and stopped the clock at 1: 34.693, one second and two tenths behind Bottas, in a session in which almost everyone set their best time on the soft compound.
Sainz did not, who took a ‘ride’ on the fourth of the fifteen curves of the Le Castellet track, smashing the soft tire in the sandpaper of the escape; so his time, one second and eight tenths behind Bottas, marked him with the hard compound.
Carlos made 24 laps in a session in which the quadruple world champion Sebastian vettel (2010-13, with Red Bull), who lost control of his Aston Martin in the difficult turn 11 – in the main incident, without consequences – registered a place ahead of the Madrid in the times table. That closed, four and a half seconds behind Bottas, the Israeli Roy Nissani, who got on the Williams of the Englishman George Russell, who will recover it in the afternoon session.
The second free training session will take place at three in the afternoon (13:00 GMT).
Results of the first free practice of the French GP
.1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) 1: 33,448
.two. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) at 0.335
.3. Max Verstappen (HOL / Red Bull) at 0.432
.4. Sergio Pérez (MEX / Red Bull) at 0.745
.5. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine) at 0.881
.6. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / McLaren) at 1,196
.7. Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine) at 1,245
.8. Pierre Gasly (FRA / Alpha Tauri) at 1,251
.9. Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren) at 1,259
10. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN / Alpha Tauri) at 1,399
11. Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari) at 1,502
12. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo) to 1,668
13. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN / Alfa Romeo) to 1,687
14. Lance Stroll (CAN / Aston Martin) at 1827
15. Sebastian Vettel (GER / Aston Martin) at 1,841
16. Carlos Sainz (ESP / Ferrari) at 1,894
17. Nicolas Latifi (CAN / Williams) at 2,164
18. Nikita Mazepin (RUS / Haas) at 3,203
19. Mick Schumacher (GER / Haas) at 3,881
20. Roy Nissany (ISR / Williams) at 4,433.