Valtteri Bottas avenges his disastrous last race securing the lead of the first practice session after the summer break. The top three is completed by two Honda-powered drivers, with Verstappen, on top of the timings for most of the morning, slotting in P2 and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, consistently among the fastest, in P3.
The session began with a light rain that made the teams hesitant to exit the pits. The first drivers out were Sainz and Leclerc on the intermediates, followed by Schumacher and the two AlphaTauris. However, shortly after, the track was dry enough to switch to slicks.
1'50'191 was the first lap time recorded, signed by Lando Norris in his McLaren, while Hungarian GP winner Esteban Ocon jumped into P1 with a 1'47'250 on the mediums.
Raikkonen and Tsunoda, both on the hards, spun, the first one at La Source and the second one at the pit exit. It definitely wasn't the Finn's day, as he hit the wall while entering the pit lane a bit later.
At the half hour mark, Verstappen in his Red Bull had put in the best lap of the session on the hards in 1'46'879, and Ferrari's last podium sitter Carlos Sainz slid into P2. The Mercedes weren't that impressive, with Hamilton stuck outside the top ten and Bottas clinging on P10.
All Mercedes motorised teams besides Vettel and Russell, Alonso, both Alphatauri and Leclerc switched to the third power unit, but while Hamilton and Bottas could still use the second allocation in future races, the Ferrari driver's engine was seriously damaged at Hungaroring.
Mercedes's form got better nearing the end of the session: in the last fifteen minutes Bottas signed the fastest lap in 1'45'199 on softs. Only three drivers have put in laps in the 1'45s, Verstappen and Gasly joining the Finn whereas Lewis Hamilton after going fastest in Sector 2 aborted the lap, not improving his P18.
Leclerc ran wide at Turn 7, going in the gravel and bringing debris on the track.
In the final minutes of the session the majority of the drivers focused on practising their starts rather then improving their times, leaving Bottas's time unbeaten.