FP1 and FP2 report: Bottas, Verstappen lead sessions as drivers struggle to stay on track

The championship leader set a 1.32s872 in the afternoon to finish ahead of both Mercedes

By F1total.ca staff

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen leads the championship after six races (Photo: MaxVerstappen/Twitter)

Max Verstappen set the fastest lap on the Friday free practice sessions in France to stay ahead of the Mercedes of championship rival Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The Dutchman’s 1.32s872 lap time was 0s008 clear of Bottas, who led the FP1 from Hamilton in the morning. Azerbaijan GP winner Sergio Pérez finished the first session in fourth, behind teammate Verstappen and in ahead of Esteban Ocon, fifth. The Alpine driver is racing at home and fresh from signing a three-year extension with the team.

Fernando Alonso kept the French outfit in the top 5 in the afternoon, making it to P4, one position ahead of Charles Leclerc. Canadian drivers Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi were 14th and 17th in the morning, respectively, finishing in 16th and 18th in the afternoon.

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Daniel Ricciardo, Alonso, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda came from sixth to tenth in the FP1, in order. Ocon, Gasly, Carlos Sainz Jr., Kimi Raikkonen and Norris filed the same slot in the afternoon.

Both sessions were marked by drivers coming out of the track, sometimes trashing their tires and front wings when running through the high kerbs of the French circuit. Sebastian Vettel and Sainz had adventures of their own, for instance. Watch the moments below.

The leaders of the Friday sessions also had to endure setbacks. Both Bottas and Verstappen damaged the front wings of their cars when leaving the track.

The French Grand Prix, the seventh race in the 2021 Formula 1 season, is set for Sunday at 9 AM EST, 6 AM Pacific Time. The qualifying session is set for Saturday on the same time.

See the full FP1 results:

See the full FP2 results: