Verstappen leads FP1 in Hungary, Bottas goes quickest to head Mercedes 1-2 in FP2

Lewis Hamilton can collect a record ninth win in the same Grand Prix and a 100th career victory if he wins on Sunday

By Olivia Kairu

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas went quickest in the second free practice ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix (Photo: Mercedes/F1)

Max Verstappen led the first F1 event held after his 51G crash in Silverstone.

Red Bull have cleared the Honda engine the Dutchman used at the British Grand Prix for the Hungarian race weekend after running multiple tests at their Milton Keynes-based facility. Verstappen set the fastest time in FP1 on his first run on the soft compound tyre with a 1.17:555 lap time.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas followed just 0.061s behind Verstappen’s time in FP1. The Finn went on to claim the top spot on the timesheet in the FP2, lapping at 1. 17:012.

Bottas finished ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton on both Friday sessions. The Briton, who can collect a record ninth win in the same Grand Prix and a 100th career victory if he wins on Sunday, finished second in the afternoon session.

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“(We had) a few adjustments we were trying from FP1 to FP2 so just need to look into which things worked, which things didn’t,” Verstappen said after the session. “(Our pace needs to improve) especially over one-lap and also long run, so a lot of things to look into. But nothing shocking.”

Bottas joked about the high temperatures found Friday at the Hungaroring circuit.

“Honestly, it feels like being in a Finnish sauna,” he said. “It’s a good comparison especially when you stop running, you get the heat. It’s way more than 60 degrees, 70 degrees in the cockpit. It’s sweaty but out on track at least you get a bit of air.

“I have to say in Practice 1, with the balance, we had quite a lot of work to do but we quickly reacted, and it starts to feel quite OK,” the Finn added, “but for sure there’s more to come, no doubt, and it’s good to see that most likely we’re going to be in the fight for pole tomorrow so that’s really motivating.”

Hamilton also spoke on the weather, touching on the rain predictions for Sunday’s race.

“You can’t plan for the rain in a hot day like this,” the Briton said. “You can’t set the car up soft for the rain, because it’s quite unpredictable, so you just try to get the car in the best place as you can. There’s not a huge difference between the set-up anyway. We’ll set the car up for dry qualifying and if it rains, then it rains.”

“To see Valtteri and I both on the front row pace-wise, I think, is great for the team and we’ll only improve on that. We’ve got some work to do tonight to see how we can finesse the car a little bit more but it’s a good start.”

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Sergio Pérez took his Red Bull to eight in the FP1, improving to fifth in the second event.

Yuki Tsunoda was unable to enjoy a clean session yet again after first spinning into Turn 9 and causing the rear to spin forward. In a similar incident soon after, the rookie soon lost the rear of his AlphaTauri to hit the wall at Turn 4 and trigger a red flag.

The incident meant his car’s gearbox and rear end had to be changed, leaving him out for the majority of FP2 and only able to put in 1 lap on the soft compound with two minutes of the second session to spare.

“I’m really disappointed with today, I made a mistake in FP1 and it meant that I’ve lost more than a session’s worth of running,” Tsunoda told Sky Sports. “The rear of the car felt very nervous, especially in high-speed corners, and I was losing a lot of time there compared to Pierre.”

His AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly sat high in P5, dropping only to P6 in the second session.

Esteban Ocon’s FP2 performance earned him P4, 0.747s off the fastest time of the session followed by the equally strong performance of his teammate Fernando Alonso – seventh fastest after previously holding P6 during the FP1.

Alonso had a violent spin at turn 4 that caused flat spots to the hard tyres and bits of bodywork flying early into the session. The two-time world champion, who claimed his first career victory in Hungary in 2003, celebrated his 40th birthday on Thursday.

Sebastian Vettel’s early soft tyre runs proved very useful banking him eighth fastest. His Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll finished strong in P10 during both practices.

George Russell lined up ahead of the back-markers in P15 in the morning and in the afternoon. He was followed on both occasions by teammate Nicholas Latifi, who was two-tenths off his Russell both sessions. 

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr was fourth fastest in the first session, ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc, who came in P7. The duo fell through the ranks during the second session as Leclerc went P11 – one position ahead of Sainz.

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McLaren showed average pace as Lando Norris held onto P9 for both sessions while Daniel Ricciardo only managed P13 in the second session – one position ahead of where he finished the FP1.

The British team brought upgrades to Hungary, with the bargeboards on both cars aiming to combat the lack of downforce the MCL35M has in low-speed circuits. Also, a longer boomerang and a change in the vortex generator shape look to increase airflow significantly.

Veteran Robert Kubica, who stood in for Kimi Raikkonen in FP1, was only able to put in a handful of laps to finish in P18. Raikkonen returned to his seat in the Alfa Romeo to finish fourteenth fastest on the timesheet in the afternoon.

Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to run during the first session due to a technical issue that rendered him confined to his pit box. The Italian driver only managed to best Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin during FP2, finishing 19th.

The Hungarian GP qualifying session is set to take place on Saturday at 9 A.M. ET, with the race taking place at the same time on Sunday.

See the full FP1 results:

See the full FP2 results:

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