FP1 at Barcelona was a pretty straightforward affair, with little in terms of drama as the teams and drivers visited the track for the first time since February pre-season testing. Teams brought new parts for the event, as was obvious thanks to many of the cars featuring flow-vis paint to test out how the new components fare in real-world concitions. These include Ferrari, Mercedes, Williams, Aston Martin and McLaren as well.
The session began quietly, with cars slowly emerging out onto the track. As we discussed in our Grand Prixview, Nyck De Vries and Juri Vips replaced Alex Albon and Sergio Perez for FP1. However, today Alfa Romeo reserve Robert Kubica also took over running duties from Guanyu Zhou, and hence we saw 3 new names on the timing charts in this session.
The first half of the session was devoid of much action, as drivers accustomed themselves to the track once again. Most came out on the hard tyres, and then slowly shifting their focus to the softer compounds. Max Verstappen set the initial pace on the hards, though was soon displaced by the soft tyre runners.
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There was a slight moment between Alonso and Hamilton when the Briton had to dip his tyres into the gravel, though both emerged unscathed. The Ferrari duo were back on top, out-pacing the next fastest car by over two and a half tenths!
A great performance by Alonso saw him finish 5th, while reserve and young drivers in the form of Kubica, De Vries and Vips had a decent session. De Vries and Kubica outpaced their teammates as well, while Vips was made to focus on long runs considering how he spent most of the session on the hard tyres.
The field is mixed at the moment, but if history is anything to go by then it should be obvious that FP1 results are rarely indicators of the teams’ definitive pace. Next up is FP2, where regular drivers Albon, Zhou and Perez will return to the car, and the teams run some more practice programs in preparation for the main GP.