BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Valtteri Bottas set the pace with Mercedes in the first practice session for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Bottas was fastest with a lap of 1 minute, 18.148 seconds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday, nearly a second quicker than teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was second fastest.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who trails Hamilton by four points in the drivers’ standings after four races, was third.
Most teams brought significant updates for their cars to Barcelona as Formula One returned to Europe after races in Australia, Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan.
Daniel Ricciardo, who crashed with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in Azerbaijan, had a tough start to his weekend in Barcelona by going off the track and hitting a tire barrier midway through the session. He had to retire and lost a lot of track time.
Ricciardo still finished with the seventh-fastest time, while Verstappen was fourth quickest.
Robert Kubica, Williams’ reserve driver, was back in an official F1 session for the first time since almost losing a hand in a rally crash in 2011. He participated in preseason testing this year, but his last race was the Abu Dhabi season finale in 2010.
The team had to make some modifications to Kubica’s car because the Polish driver doesn’t have full movement of his right hand.
Kubica, who had a spin toward the end of the session, finished with the second-to-last time – in front of teammate Lance Stroll.
Stroll nearly hit the tire barriers after going off the track with about a half-hour left in the session.
Many drivers struggled with windy conditions at the track outside Barcelona.
Drivers will return to the track for another 90-minute session in the afternoon.
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Source: Fox Sports