Bottas Paces Practice As F-1 Debuts At Mugello

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Valtteri Bottas was fastest in Formula One practice Friday at the Mugello Circuit. (LAT Images Photo)
Valtteri Bottas was fastest in Formula One practice Friday at the Mugello Circuit. (LAT Images Photo)

SCARPERIA E SAN PIERO, Italy – Valtteri Bottas paced both practice sessions as Formula One made its debut at the Mugello Circuit on Friday afternoon.

The Mercedes driver was fastest overall thanks to his lap time from the second practice, a 1:16.989. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was a close second overall, .207 seconds off the time set by Bottas.

“It’s been a lot of fun today and I’ve enjoyed every single lap,” said Bottas. “The whole opening section with the high-speed chicanes and the second sector is just amazing and the car felt pretty good out there. I struggled with quite a lot of understeer in the first session and still in places in the second session, but it felt better. I think there’s still quite a bit of lap time to unlock, both in the car and also as a driver. This track is definitely one of the most physically demanding. We’ll only properly get to see the effects of that in the race distance, but even today, I could feel it and it’s going to be tough for everyone on Sunday. It’s also quite unforgiving, with little margin for error and that’s how it should be.”

Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon of Red Bull were third and fourth overall, followed by the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo in fifth.

Lando Norris was the first driver to hit serious trouble, spinning in turn three and hitting the wall in his McLaren during the second practice. His car suffered front wing damage as a result of the incident.

The Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel continued their struggles, with both drivers spinning during the second practice. Leclerc ended the day 10th fastest, with Vettel taking 12th.