HUNGARIAN GP – Max Verstappen sets the pace five-hundredths ahead of Valtteri Bottas in first practice

Testing & Race Reports

Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, after going six thousandths faster than the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. The Dutchman set his fastest time on the soft tyre to put himself ahead, after completing a lengthy opening run to check the engine following his collision with Sir Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone.

Verstappen first lap was a 19.7, he soon set about steadily improving his times before getting himself down to a 17.5 as the track rubbered in. Bottas had gone fastest early on, before the Red Bull found a second. Bottas was a tenth faster than Hamilton, although the seven-times champion abandoned his hard run eventually going third fastest.

Hamilton’s third-fastest time, was set following adjustments to his front wing which allowed him to close the gap to just over a tenth behind Bottas. Suggestions from the session suggest that again it could be another close battle between Red Bull and Mercedes, as they continue to bicker about Silverstone.

Ferrari were expected to be strong in Budapest, Carlos Sainz put himself fourth however was half a second off the outright pace. The Spaniard going six hundredths ahead of the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly and the Alpine of Fernando Alonso. The second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was six thousandths behind.

Ferrari had been expected by some to be competitive after their strong showing in Monaco, but Sainz was half a second off the pace, suggesting that the Italian team’s pre-event predictions that they could head the midfield, but not challenge the top two teams, may have been accurate.

Red Bull’s attempt to get Hamilton a tougher penalty for the incident at Silverstone, but failed on Thursday when governing body the FIA rejected their bid for a right of review of the incident.

Alonso also had a spin losing the rear through Turn Four before having oversteer at Five going through the run off before catching the Alpine. The Second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was eighth thanks to a late run on the soft tyres which put him ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with Lance Stroll rounding out the top ten.

Perez however was nine-tenths behind Verstappen.

Yuki Tsunoda caused the only red flag of the session when he crashed his Alpha Tauri at Turn Four hitting the ‘barriers, but he finished the session twelve fastest. Alonso also made a mistake spinning across the kerb, but managed to keep the car out of the wall.

Sebastian Vettel was fourteenth going three and a half tenths faster than former teammate Daniel Ricciardo. George Russell was fifteenth going a tenth ahead of his Williams teammate Nicolas Latifi, the team likely to struggle more this weekend at this low-speed high downforce circuit.

Mick Schumacher lead the Haas-Alfa Romeo battle, the German going three tenths faster than Alfa’s reserve driver Robert Kubica, Nikita Mazepin and Antonio Giovinazzi.

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