After seeing Max Verstappen set the initial pace on Friday morning at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on the medium tyre, Bottas jumped to the top of the standings after switching to the soft compound Pirellis.
Bottas recorded a fastest time of 1m44.493s to claim P1 in first practice and narrowly beat Hamilton, who set his lap just moments after his teammate but fell 0.069 seconds short.
Verstappen was able to run both Mercedes drivers close after making a slightly later switch to soft tyres, but was 0.081 seconds shy of Bottas’ benchmark come the end of the session.
None of the leading three drivers opted for multiple attempts at the fastest time through a quiet opening practice at Spa that was not interrupted by a single stoppage or yellow flag.
Bottas suffered a front-left puncture during a race simulation run on the soft tyres late in the session, but was able to easily get back to the pits.
The session saw Racing Point continue its historic good form at Spa as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll took fourth and fifth place respectively. Perez lapped just 0.136s off Bottas’ leading time, with Stroll finishing a further two-tenths of a second behind.
Alexander Albon ended the session sixth for Red Bull, almost half a second down on teammate Verstappen.
Esteban Ocon was the leading Renault in opening…