Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends Hungarian Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver was seven-hundredths of a second faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, despite him using the slower soft tyre.
Red Bull have said going into this weekend that they really need a win if they are to continue their championship challenge. While Red Bull remains the outsiders in the championship, they are aware that some of the circuits in the second half of the season are more suited to their car.
Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen was third fastest, he was eight hundredths off his teammate and also set his fastest time on the soft tyre.
Mercedes where closer than what they might have expected, ahead of the weekend the team openly admitted that they aren’t the favourites. However, Lewis Hamilton wasn’t far off the pace the four times champion was less than a tenth off Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas was just over a further tenth behind.
Ferrari also doesn’t normally tend to show there few performance and have not spoken about there expectations this weekend, following the death of president Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday. Also, Hamilton appeared uncomfortable at a circuit he has won at five times from ten races.
Both Mercedes also spent lots of time in the garage, and Bottas sat out the final runs in order to save tyres after locking up massively on mediums which he planned to run until the chequered flag.
Nico Hulkenberg session was also cut short, with him needing to settle for eighth a tenth faster than teammate Carlos Sainz. Both Renaults were behind the Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Hulkenberg’s car stopped on track after a loss of power, he remained seventh until the closing laps when the Frenchman went faster by five-hundredths of a second. Hulkenberg however, remained a tenth faster than Sainz.
Pierre Gasly was eleventh fastest for Toro Rosso, ahead of the McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. McLaren has had been using Friday as test days, Stoffel Vandoorne was sixteenth following a chassis change. While Gasly’s teammate Brendon Hartley spun on his way to thirteenth.
Lance Stroll was fourteenth, almost three tenths faster than his Williams teammate Sergey Sirotkin who was nineteenth.
Antonio Giovinazzi was eighteenth in the Sauber, replacing Charles Leclerc for Friday morning’s session. The Ferrari junior driver is believed to be a potential replacement for Leclerc should the Monegasque go to Ferrari next year, but had a scrappy session after a nasty lock-up on his first set of tyres.
Marcus Ericsson was the slowest of all, the Swede suffering two spins. The most costly on his second set of ultra-soft set of tyres he had planned to use for the rest of the session.
Both Sauber and Haas used Ferraris third and final specification of power unit, which is believed to offer a significant step in power.