Valtteri Bottas led Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in a tight first practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Bottas in the Mercedes was just 0.033 seconds faster than Verstappen’s Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton 0.123 seconds behind his Finnish teammate.
McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fourth, ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri was seventh, ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin.
The session followed the pattern of the season so far up front, with Mercedes and Red Bull cars extremely close, and McLaren and Ferrari their closest challengers.
Ferrari’s pace was remarkable to come on the medium tire, while almost all of the other drivers clocked their fastest time on the fastest flexible, which the Italian team did not use.
Norris was just 0.440 seconds off pace in the McLaren, as he tried out a new front wing and new floor for the team’s first big upgrade of the season.
Leclerc was only 0.052 seconds behind Norris, his teammate Sainz 0.024 seconds later.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was ninth after a tough session, lacking pace and then suffering from traffic problems on what could have been his fastest lap at the end of the session.
Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll completed the top 10.
The Alpine team, fresh off a strong performance in Portugal last weekend, was only 12th and 15th fastest, with Esteban Ocon ahead of Fernando Alonso.
However, Alonso in particular ran the session in a different way, using the soft tire when the track was “green” and slippery at the start of the session, then moving to difficult for the rest of the hour.
Two drivers left. Nikita Mazepin spun his Haas on his first flight lap, while Alfa Romeo reservist Robert Kubica lost his car on the reshaped Turn 10 midway through the session and stopped it briefly for that the car was recovered.