Valtteri Bottas has topped the timesheets in FP1 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, closely followed by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

After a three week break, Formula 1 is back for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the classic circuit of Imola. The first practice session saw Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of 1m 16.564s – just 0.041s up on Hamilton – and a mere 0.058s ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

With twenty minutes to go in the session Sergio Perez’s Red Bull RB16B was sent spinning due to a puncture, probably as a result of contact with Ocon’s Alpine at the Villeneuve chicane, which also pulled up trackside and had to be craned away. However, as Formula 1 was having technical issues with its broadcasting system and there was no radio between the pits and cars, it remains unclear what the exact cause of the collision was.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were unable to complete FP1 due to a collision.

Once the session was able to resume, there was only twelve minutes left for the driver’s to complete their flying laps which led to many traffic issues and spoiled laps for several drivers.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fourth fastest despite missing the first half of the session with technical issues, ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.

The session concluded when Haas’ Nikita Mazepin crashed at the Rivazza corner just as the chequered flag had come out. It will be essential for the Russian to have a positve qualifying and race over the weekend if he is to redeem himself after his crash in the opening lap of Bahrain 3 years ago.

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