The final practice session for the Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix delivered more on-track action and another close battle for stopwatch honours ahead of this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session.
Sebastian Vettel continued where he left off on Friday. After being quickest in FP2, the Ferrari driver repeated the dose in final practice and cloced a new lap record time of 1:16.170.
This time, however, it was the Mercerdes of Valtteri Bottas who gave the German his closest challenge, with the Finn going second-quickest despite a spin and a brush with the barriers.
Bottas’ pace proved something of a surprise for he and Mercedes terammate Lewis Hamilton, who was approaching this weekend as something of a damage limitation exercise given the Hungaroring does not suit the characteristics of the Mercedes F1W09.
The two Silver Arrows once again looked a handful through various corners and both drivers managed to spin at the Turn 6/7 chicane within minutes of each other. Hamilton was first, losing the back end at the entry and looping his #44 Mercedes into a spin across the kerbs before coming to a stop facing the wrong way at the exit of the chicane.
Bottas’ near-identical spin came just minutes later, but he carried enough speed to slide sideways into the Armco barriers. He hit the wall side on, however the impact did not appear to cause any significant damage, which allowed him to return back to the pits.
Having targeted both cars to qualify inside the first two rows of the grid, Red Bull Racing showed a worrying lack of pace in the final session. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finished the on-hour session fifth and sixth fastest respectively, both lapping over half a second slower than Vettel’s best effort. Ricciardo was unhappy with understeer and a reported engine braking issue on his RB14, which he will no doubt hope is solved by the time qualifying gets underway at 15:00 local time (GMT +2).
The Renaults of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hülkenberg broke the Haas team’s run at the top of the midfielders, locking out P7 and P8. Romain Grosjean finished ninth-fastest in the lead Haas, with Pierre Gasly continuing his positive Friday pace into Saturday by lapping tenth-quickest in his Toro Rosso.
The sister Haas and Toro Rosso entries were next up, with Kevin Magnussen edging Brendon Hartley, with Charles Leclerc’s Sauber and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren not too far behind.
The news of Force India being placed into administration was one of the major headlines this weekend, and the uncertainty surrounding the team’s future perhaps carried onto the race track where Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez were fifteenth and nineteenth respectively.
|FORMULA 1 ROLEX MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:16.170||16|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:16.229||+ 0.059||17|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:16.373||+ 0.203||16|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:16.749||+ 0.579||17|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:16.803||+ 0.633||11|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:16.946||+ 0.776||14|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:17.754||+ 1.584||17|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:18.083||+ 1.913||18|
|9.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:18.084||+ 1.914||19|
|10.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:18.139||+ 1.969||22|
|11.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:18.230||+ 2.060||17|
|12.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:18.252||+ 2.082||19|
|13.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:18.376||+ 2.206||19|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:18.467||+ 2.297||15|
|15.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:18.512||+ 2.342||20|
|16.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:18.630||+ 2.460||17|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:18.789||+ 2.619||14|
|18.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:18.842||+ 2.672||18|
|19.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:18.962||+ 2.792||18|
|20.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:19.132||+ 2.962||20|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari