Daniel Ricciardo narrowly edged Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the top spot on the practice timesheets as Friday’s track action got underway for the Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen was a close third-fastest in a positive opening session for Red Bull Racing, which fancies this weekend’s race as one where it can genuinely fight for victory given the Hungaroring circuit’s less power dependent characteristics.

It was tight at the top of the timesheets, with Ricciardo posting an impressive 1:17.613 effort on Pirelli’s Soft compound tyres as his fastest time. He and former teammate Sebastian Vettel were both looking to rebound from DNFs at last weekend’s German Grand Prix and started strongly, with the Ferrari driver’s best lap just 0.079 seconds slower.

Less than one-tenth of a second covered the top three, with Verstappen – despite a spin at Turn 1 – just 0.009 seconds off Vettel’s time, while Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen was fourth-fastest.

The two Mercedes’ of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were an uncharacteristic fifth- and sixth-fastest respectively and some way off the early pace. Last weekend’s German Grand Prix winner was over four-tenths of a second slower than Ricciardo, with the rear end of his F1 W09 looking particularly twitchy, while Bottas was a similar margin adrift of his teammate.

The early ‘best of the rest’ battle among the midfielders was once again fought between the Haas and Renault teams. Romain Grosjean led the charge and finished seventh-fastest in his Ferrari-powered VF-18, fitted with an upgraded ‘Spec 3’ Ferrari power unit this weekend. The Frenchman finished narrowly ahead of the Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. Grosjean’s teammate Kevin Magnussen completed the top ten in the sister Haas Ferrari entry.

Hülkenberg’s session was worryingly brought to a premature end when his car suffered a suspected power unit failure, which will leave his team scrambling to have his car ready for the start of FP2.

The Hungaroring’s dusty and low-grip conditions caught out a number of drivers during the session. Along with Verstappen spinning backwards into the run-off at Turn 1, Marcus Ericsson twice looped his Sauber while Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also found himself spinning off at Turn 14.

Friday’s second practice session gets underway at 15:00 local time (GMT +2).

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14 1:17.613 30
2. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF71H 1:17.692 + 0.079 24
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14 1:17.701 + 0.088 29
4. Kimi Räikkönen Scuderia Ferrari SF71H 1:17.948 + 0.335 23
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09 1:18.036 + 0.423 28
6. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09 1:18.470 + 0.857 20
7. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18 1:18.975 + 1.362 17
8. Nico Hülkenberg Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 1:19.025 + 1.412 14
9. Carlos Sainz Jr Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 1:19.128 + 1.515 32
10. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18 1:19.187 + 1.574 29
11. Pierre Gasly Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13 1:19.352 + 1.739 30
12. Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33 1:19.690 + 2.077 24
13. Brendon Hartley Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13 1:19.841 + 2.228 32
14. Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41 1:20.012 + 2.399 33
15. Esteban Ocon Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11 1:20.065 + 2.452 30
16. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33 1:20.151 + 2.538 28
17. Sergio Pérez Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11 1:20.159 + 2.546 27
18. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37 1:20.293 + 2.680 31
19. Sergey Sirotkin Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41 1:20.307 + 2.694 28
20. Marcus Ericsson Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37 1:20.697 + 3.084 12

Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.