Lewis Hamilton was fastest in first practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Mercedes looked fast during the opening session. The six-time champion set a 16.0 on the hard tyre putting him eight hundreds faster than his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
At the Red Bull Ring, the Mercedes cars came out strong, with Hamilton setting his fastest time on the hard tyres. Hamilton set his time on the medium compound and that put him more than half a second clear of Sergio Perez in third in the Racing Point.’
Underlining the pace of Hamilton, his time was set using the softest tyre in the first part of the session when the track was dirty and slower. That time was just 0.123secs slower than the world champion’s ultimate quickest time.
Red Bull, the closest rival to Mercedes had a low-key start to the weekend with eighth and thirteenth for Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, while Ferrari again finished well adrift of the practice pace-setters. The dutchman set the early benchmark before the Mercedes set their fastest time.
The team were testing new parts, but they still remained significantly behind the Mercedes. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed the team were trialling some ‘test items’ on the RB16, which at least partially explained their relatively slow start – with Alex Albon down in thirteenth.
Bottas set the early pace before Hamilton used his soft tyres before swapping positions. Then Mercedes instructed its cars to stay out and collect data on the soft tyres due to a threat of rain – with a few spots falling during the very early laps – which they did, with a massive double lock-up for Hamilton at the first corner the only notable interruption.
Perez’s teammate Lance Stroll was the only driver within a second of the Mercedes, going fourth fastest. Perez suffering a big lockup on his first lap running close to the barrier which left him four-tenths behind his teammate Stroll.
Daniel Ricciardo showed encouraging performance in the Renault in fifth, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, who are desperate for an improved result this weekend. Ricciardo’s session was mainly focused on data gathering with measuring device fitted to his RS20 during the early installation laps.
Ferrari is running exactly the same specification as last weekend’s Styrian GP, where they failed to finish after Leclerc triggered a clash between the team-mates on the race’s opening lap, as the team brought the full update package it had been expected to introduce in Hungary forward by one event.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was eighth fastest despite sliding on the soft tyres finishing a second off the Mercedes. While Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top ten. Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon was only thirteenth a second and seven-tenths off the pace of Hamilton.
Pierre Gasly was forced to sit out the session as Honda was carrying out checks on his Alpha Tauri.