Bottas gets a five-place grid penalty
A red flag appears within five minutes of the start of the 1st free practice session of the 2021 American GP. Fernando Alonso’s Alpine doesn’t feel like it anymore and the Spaniard has to park his car in the run-off lane. After just over ten minutes, the drivers can finally start.
Halfway through practice it is announced that Valtteri Bottas will get a new engine this weekend. This is his sixth combustion engine, while only three are allowed per season. The Finn therefore has to take another five-place grid penalty and will not start at the front of the field on Sunday.
It’s not all cake and egg in Austin for Hamilton either. The Mercedes driver is at the top of the lap time board for most of the training, but complains that his tires are overheating too quickly.
In the end, it doesn’t seem to matter. Bottas is fastest and has Hamilton right behind him. Both put Verstappen almost a second behind. Red Bull therefore has to wipe out a considerable gap for qualifying. Otherwise, the stats will be right again.
1st free practice of the 2021 American GP
01. Valtteri Bottas
02. Lewis Hamilton
03. Max Verstappen
04. Charles Leclerc
05. Carlos Sainz
Dates and times of the 2021 American GP
Friday October 22, 2021
2nd free practice: 10pm – 11pm
Saturday, October 23, 2021
3rd free practice: 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Qualification: 11:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Race: 9:00 PM