In first practice, the inaugural official grand prix session outside of the F1 tests that have been held here previously, Bottas was fastest with a lap of 1m17.879s.
The Finn was 0.048s faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – using a new chassis this weekend – a further three tenths back in third as the celebration of the Scuderia’s 1000th GP began.
Hamilton was only fourth quickest in FP1, ahead of last weekend’s hero Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri.
In FP2, Bottas was on top again, lowering the fastest time to 1m16.989s, which was two tenths quicker than Hamilton. Verstappen was a quarter of a second off Bottas’s time, with his teammate Alex Albon in fourth – almost a second off the pace.
Renault was best of the rest, with Daniel Ricciardo outpacing Esteban Ocon. Gasly slipped to eighth, behind Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
Lando Norris crashed his McLaren on the exit of Turn 3, swiping the front wing from the car as he swiped the concrete wall. The session was red flagged while his car was recovered.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen also suffered spins, the latter tagged into his off at the first corner by Perez who had just left the pits. That also red flagged the session to clear debris.
Raikkonen outpaced both Ferraris, ending the…