The Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have topped the opening practice session ahead of this Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel, the winner of the German Grand Prix three weeks ago, went fastest mid-session ahead of team-mate Webber who had held an early lead. In third was Kimi Raikkonen who survived a small fire and a water bottle leak to finally end his session with a slow puncture.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fourth ahead of the other Lotus of Romain Grosjean, whose E21 features the Galician flag in honour of the Spanish rail disaster victims. McLaren’s Jenson Button showed an improved pace with sixth overall, ahead of Adrian Sutil in seventh who is celebrating his 100th Grand Prix this weekend. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was eighth for Mercedes as the Silver Arrows struggle to make up for the lost running at the Young Driver Test last weekend. Sergio Perez was ninth for McLaren while Pastor Maldonado finished a positive tenth for Williams.
Esteban Gutierrez was also showing an improved pace with eleventh for the cash-strapped Sauber while Valtteri Bottas was twelfth for Williams ahead of Germany’s pole man, Lewis Hamilton in thirteenth. Jean-Eric Vergne, who was recently ruled out of the open Red Bull seat by team principal Christian Horner, survived a hairy moment at turn 4 when the Toro Rosso went spectacularly wide at the same place as Felipe Massa’s 2009 smash. While Vergne was fourteenth for Toro Rosso, Felipe Massa was a very unimpressive fifteenth for Ferrari as he continued his recent downturn in form.
Nico Hulkenberg, who rubbished rumours that he was to quit Sauber over contractual disputes, was sixteenth in the opening practice session ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo. Paul di Resta was a distant eighteenth for Force India ahead of the backmarkers of Charles Pic, Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi in nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first respectively. Rodolfo Gonzalez was in the cockpit for Max Chilton this morning, finishing twenty-second and he will hand control back to Chilton for the afternoon session.