The Formula 1 arrived to ‘Portuguese mountain’ from PortimaoAs is often the case with attractions, before the wagons do their pirouettes in a hurry, the first tests and checks must be carried out at a slower pace. The simile is perfect to explain what happened in the first free practice of the Portuguese GP of F1 2021 of this friday. On a track of constant and steep ascents and descents, with blind braking spots, in short, a track in which it is essential to start to gain confidence, the drivers focused their work on this aspect. This point was especially important for the riders who changed teams this year, such as Carlos Sainz, who after the few days of testing this year and only with two races contested with FerrariYou must keep working to get on your red racing car and take small steps in search of your best level. The same happens to Fernando Alonso, with a greater disadvantage than the rest on this track, not only because he must continue to find his best pure speed after two and a half years out of F1, also because it is the first time he has visited a track where a few months ago the majority of the grid competed in 2020. Thus, the Madrid finished 9th and the Asturian did it in the
14th place, delayed starting positions that mean absolutely nothing, since to everything commented, we must add the initial conditions of the track.
The asphalt was still too green and all the drivers suffered a lot to warm up the tires, which left an unrepresentative time table. However, it was possible to glimpse the confirmation of the tremendous fight that is expected between the Mercedes and the Red bull back on this track, with Bottas leading the session with a 1’19 ”648, escorted by the two Red Bull, with Verstappen second and Pérez in third place.
In fact, the dutch it was only 25 thousandths of Valtteri
in a turn in which he complained a lot of strong vibrations in his tires that reduced his visibility. And despite this, he was less than a sigh from the Finn, a sign that things are going to change a lot when the real fire starts.
Hamilton, calm start
The same symptom of this is what is distilled from the fifth position of HamiltonHe started very calmly, 0 ”319 behind his teammate’s best time, still keeping a lot of potential in a car with which he wants to win his second victory in three races.
In front of Lewis it was a good Charles Leclerc with the Ferrari. The red team suffered less in Portimao last year and he is a great candidate to lead the middle zone, even to get a little closer to the two great teams. Thus, Perez must perform at its best with the Red bull to avoid problems with the racing cars of Maranello, and for the moment, the Mexican started showing good confidence, being third at 0 ”198 from Bottas.
McLaren keeps hiding
Gasly, with a AlphaTauri who wants to fight Ferrari and Mclaren, was 6th. Meanwhile, Russell slipped into an unreal seventh position, yet another example that you don’t have to draw many conclusions from an FP1 in which Mclaren again underperformed, with Norris in eighth position and Ricciardo in the 13th. It seems that the orange cars are opting for a strategy similar to Imola, where they hid in free practice and then surprised everyone by being up in classification.
Apart from the 14th position of an Alonso who focused on taking references on an unknown track for him and on gaining confidence in his blind spots, the other Alpine, that of Or with, finished in tenth position at 1 ”152.