Hamilton Quickest In Opening Practice

Lewis Hamilton took the top spot during Friday morning’s free practice session ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Briton’s lead from team-mate Nico Rosberg, which was nearly two tenths, is the first step in his mission to win this weekend’s Grand Prix and reel in Championship leader Rosberg. With the two Mercedes men taking up their usual position at the top of the time sheets, it was Kimi Raikkonen who proved to be the best-of-the-rest as he lapped six-tenths shy of Hamilton’s quickest effort, with his Alonso a further four tenths behind, in fourth. Vettel was fifth for Red Bull as Kevin Magnussen finished the session in sixth. Jean-Eric Vergne was seventh, just ahead of former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who dedicated some of his run plan to drifting around the circuit when his tyres ‘hit the cliff’. Jenson Button complained about a complete lack of rear grip but brought his McLaren to ninth, while Massa rounded out the top ten.

Esteban Gutierrez took eleventh, almost poetically symbolic of the struggle Sauber are having in scoring a point this season, with former Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg in twelfth. Daniil Kvyat lapped in thirteenth, and Maldonado in fourteenth, while Valtteri Bottas was surprisingly down the order in fifteenth. Sergio Perez’s Force India leads the Lotus of Grosjean and the Sauber of Sutil (the latter spinning in the final seconds of practice), with Kamui Kobayashi leading team-mate Marcus Ericsson, and the two Marussias of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi. Chilton finished ahead of Jules, particulalry impressive as he had time for only one flying lap following a fire on his installation lap saw him park in the pits and walk back to the garage. During the later stages of practice, Marussia tried to get him out, but it wasn’t until the fourth attempt that he successfully got back out.

So, for now, the advantage is held by Hamilton at a circuit where he has enjoyed success before, in comparison to the less successful memories his team-mate has of the track. However, with three consecutive races of botched Qualifying, Hamilton will need to take full advantage of practice to find the perfect set up to ensure he has the edge come Saturday afternoon.

Free Practice One results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Kimi Raikkonen
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Kevin Magnussen
  7. Jean-Eric Vergne
  8. Daniel Ricciardo
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Felipe Massa
  11. Esteban Gutierrez
  12. Nico Hulkenberg
  13. Daniil Kvyat
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Valtteri Bottas
  16. Sergio Perez
  17. Romain Grosjean
  18. Adrian Sutil
  19. Kamui Kobayashi
  20. Marcus Ericsson
  21. Max Chilton
  22. Jules Bianchi
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