Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the second practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix after going two-hundredths of a second faster than Mercedes teammate Sir Lewis Hamilton. The Finn set his fastest time on the soft tyres to regain the top spot after Hamilton dropped behind on the final hot runs, with Bottas improving by a second through the session.
Hamilton found time in the final sector to close the gap, but his teammate found more time when he recovered time in the final sector, while others switched to the softer tyres. He had a snap of oversteer at Turn Six-Seven caused by crosswinds and had to go to the runoff.
Hamilton’s championship rival Max Verstappen was third fastest just under three tenths off Bottas’s fastest time. The Dutchman struggled throughout the session with him complaining about understeer, which left him over a quarter of a second behind championship rival Hamilton.
It was a session perhaps even more inconclusive than normal in Friday practice as Verstappen, leading the championship by eight points, lagged behind the Mercedes. Verstappen appearing to not have the pace on both single lap and the long runs during the session after complaining about understeer.
Bottas said, “It’s not a bad start for us. It’s good to see that most likely we’re going to be in the fight for the pole, so that’s really motivating.”
Verstappen added “A few adjustments we were trying from FP1 to FP2, so we need to look into which things worked and which didn’t. The track was also very hot, so it’s never easy like that.”
Mercedes meanwhile, got through the day smoothly looking good on both the qualifying and race pace. The team has won in Budapest every season since 2015, with Hamilton looking for his ninth win, which would see him become the first driver to win nine times at the same Grand Prix.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon managed to spilt the two Red Bull’s, he was six hundredths faster than his former teammate Sergio Perez. The Mexican struggling to find the same pace as Verstappen, six tenths behind, and went two tenths faster than Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly. While Ocon’s teammate Fernando Alonso was seventh.
Sebastian Vettel was eighth just going eight-thousandths of a second faster than the McLaren of Lando Norris while Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll was tenth. The Alpine was around six hundredths faster than the McLaren, while Vettel had just seven thousandths between him and Norris suggesting a close midfield battle this weekend.
Ferrari were downplaying their chances going into this weekend, and despite Carlos Sainz going fourth in FP1 the team slipped out the top ten. Charles Leclerc going eleventh fastest a second and three tenths off, but he was seven hundredths faster than Sainz.
Daniel Ricciardo was thirteenth, the second McLaren having a half-second advantage over the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen. George Russell was fifteenth fastest going a hundredth and a half ahead of teammate Nicolas Latifi. Following his crash in FP1, Yuki Tsunoda only managing a single lap putting himself eighteenth.
Mick Schumacher once again putting himself eighteenth fastest going three and a half tenths ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, while Nikita Mazepin was twentieth.