Valtteri Bottas clocked the fastest time as Formula 1 commenced its inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix at the spectacular Mugello track.
The Ferrari-owned venue was a late addition to the 2020 calendar in the wake of the original roster of events being severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mugello last hosted Formula 1 machinery during an in-season test in 2012 and is the home of MotoGP’s Italian Grand Prix.
As drivers got up to speed at the high-speed undulating track it was Bottas who finished the 90-minute session on top.
Bottas’ time of 1:17.879s left him 0.048s clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The action took place in front of fans for the first time in 2020 as a limited number of spectators were permitted access to the venue.
Leclerc gives Ferrari hope
Ferrari is celebrating its 1000th grand prix this weekend and the SF1000 has been decked out in a special burgundy livery.
Ferrari is in the midst of a dire slump as it holds only sixth in the standings and has not scored a point across the past two grands prix.
In the context of that run Charles Leclerc classifying third, just three-tenths off Bottas, provided some encouragement of a stronger weekend.
Sebastian Vettel, who confirmed his Aston Martin deal on Thursday, finished down in 13th place.
Gasly on form again
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly claimed a shock maiden victory five days ago at Monza and he showed eye-catching pace once more.
Gasly finished fifth, just behind World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and in front of Renault’s Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen – who had his maiden test at Mugello 20 years ago this week – and Haas’ Romain Grosjean were split by just 0.005s in the Ferrari customer team battle, in 11th and 12th respectively.
Sole home representative Antonio Giovinazzi was 14th, while McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was 15th as he trialled a new front wing on the MCL35.
George Russell and Kevin Magnussen finished in front of the low-key Racing Point duo of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, with Nicholas Latifi suffering a spin at Materassi en route to last spot.
Second practice for Formula 1’s Tuscan Grand Prix will begin at 15:00 local time.
|2||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:17.927||+0.048||32|
|5||P. Gasly||Alfa Romeo||1:18.676||+0.797||30|
|7||D. Kvyat||Alfa Romeo||1:18.839||+0.960||31|
|9||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:19.068||+1.189||34|
|11||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:19.219||+1.340||21|
|14||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:19.322||+1.443||28|
|18||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:19.836||+1.957||23|
|19||S. Perez||Racing Point||1:19.840||+1.961||29|