F1 leader Bottas tops first Spanish GP practice for Mercedes

AP
Published 6:49 a.m. ET May 10, 2019

MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Formula One leader Valtteri Bottas clocked the fastest time at the first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday.

After a near-miss with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen near the start of the session, Bottas steered his Mercedes to the top of the charts on the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were next, followed by Lewis Hamilton at 0.6 seconds slower in his Mercedes.

Bottas and Hamilton have swept the top two spots in all four races so far, a first in Formula One history.

Bottas leads Hamilton by one point overall. Vettel is 35 points behind Bottas in third place.

The session ended under a red flag after Lance Stroll lost control and plowed his Racing Point into the barrier, crunching its nose. Stroll walked away from the crash.

Earlier, Bottas was almost rammed from behind by Verstappen when the young Belgian flew through a curve. Verstappen slammed on the brakes in time, before complaining to his team and shaking his fist at Bottas.

Verstappen was later told to come into the boxes by Red Bull after the first hour, apparently for a mechanical problem.

It…

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