Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice session for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The Australian was two tenth faster than the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen after he set his fastest lap on the tyre, while Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel third and fourth respectively.
The Hungaroring is expected to suit the Red Bull this weekend, because of its low speed and twisty nature. The Austrian team has a strong aero package which suits this circuit as the slow and flowing corners mean that top speed is not required for this weekend.
Ricciardo’s fastest lap was .05 seconds slower than the fastest lap of the Hungaroring in an F1 car, set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could only manage sixth. It was a scrappy morning for the four times champion, Vettel struggled with oversteer, and finished a second behind Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas set the pace early on but had to settle for fifth. The Finn did a number of laps on the supersofts dropping into the 1:19’s, before Hamilton went faster but only Ricciardo could better that time.
Times in the closing moments from Vettel on his low fuel runs and despite his struggles with the balance of the car suggest that there may be more to find in from the Ferrari.
Like Red Bull, McLaren is expected to go well as the circuit will mask the power deficit which the Honda engine has. Fernando Alonso was seventh with team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne eighth. McLaren has targeted Budapest as a race where they want to score decent points.
The British team were also faster than the rest of the midfield. Renaults Nico Hulkenberg was ninth with team-mate Jolyon Palmer rounding out the top ten.
But it wasn’t a trouble free morning for the Brit, he ran over the kerb at Turn Four breaking his front wing and scattered debris over the circuit, that brought out the second red flag.
The first red flag came thanks to Haas’s Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian crashing half way through the session at Turn Twelve, destroying the left side. Turn Twelve must have had a magnetic pull for the Haas’s, as team-mate Romain Grosjean also made contact with the wall.
That resulted in a long spell in the pits, but the Frenchman finished sixteenth fastest.
Force India was running their test driver Alfonso Celis, he was seventeenth, over a second off the pace of teammate Sergio Perez. Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll, and Grosjean all managed to fit into the second gap between the Force India