Max Verstappen set the third fastest time in the first free practice for the Grand Prix of Spain on Friday. The Dutchman had to tolerate Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on the Circuit de Catalunya.
Verstappen reached a top time of 1.17.724 on the soft tires. The Red Bull Racing driver was almost a second slower than Bottas (1.16.785) and Hamilton (1.16.824), who once again proved to be by far the fastest in Barcelona.
The top five of the first practice session was completed by Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc (1.17.970) and Sebastian Vettel (1.17.981). The 33-year-old Vettel, who was badly disappointed in the last races, will drive a new chassis this weekend to avoid technical problems.
At Racing Point, Sergio Pérez made his return after an absence of two weeks. The Mexican tested positive for the corona virus in the run-up to the GP of Great Britain and also missed the second race at Silverstone a week later. He tested negative this week and got the green light for the GP of Spain.
Roy Nissany first participated in a free practice session at Williams. The 25-year-old Israeli, a test driver with the British team from this season, took place in George Russell's car. Nissany caused a yellow flag after a spin with half an hour to go, but he was able to continue on his way.
The Spanish Grand Prix is the sixth race of the season and the last of the second triple header . The second free practice starts at 3 p.m. Classification leader Hamilton won the last three editions of the GP of Spain.
See also: Five questions about GP Spain: 'Mercedes really is not suddenly lost'