The Hungarian Grand Prix looks set to be a close tussle between Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, with both teams sharing Friday practice session honours at the Hungaroring.
After Daniel Ricciardo lapped quickest in the opening practice session, less than one-tenth of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, the top-three FP1 runners were again in the mix on a baking track surface.
This time it was Sebastian Vettel who led the way in his Ferrari, keen to shrug off the impact of throwing away a potential win on home soil last weekend when he crashed out of the lead of the race. The German posted an impressive 1:16.834, lapping just 0.074 seconds faster than Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing. FP1 pace-setter Ricciardo was third-quickest, less than a quarter of a second adrift, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen fourth-fastest.
With the Ultrasoft tyres barely able to last a lap around the twisty Hungaroring circuit, the Ferrari and Red Bull Racing cars looked better able to hook up a lap time.
The Mercedes entries of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished a distant fifth and sixth fastest respectively, with championship leader Hamilton three-quarters of a second slower. While the Mercedes team has already conceded that its F1W09 chassis is not as suited to the Hungaroring as other circuits on the calendar, in fairness neither Hamilton nor Bottas was able to post a clean qualifying-style lap during the session.
Bottas’ best lap – which featured an error at Turn 12 – was only two-tenths of a second quicker than Haas’ Romain Grosjean, as the Frenchman repeated his FP1 feat of leading the midfield runners.
Renault’s hopes that the perceived advantages of its RS18 chassis would negate the horsepower disadvantage of its engines appeared misplaced. Carlos Sainz Jr was almost half a second slower than Grosjean en route to being eighth-fastest overall. Teammate Nico Hülkenberg had a delayed start to his session while his mechanics replaced his Energy Store after it failed in FP1, consigning the German to an unrepresentative fourteenth on the timesheets.
Pierre Gasly provided some cheer to Toro Rosso by lapping his Honda-powered STR13 ninth-fastest, quicker than the Force India pairing of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez.
Fernando Alonso finished twelfth-fastest in his McLaren ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen, who complained during the session of an issue with his upgraded Ferrari power unit.
Behind Hülkenberg, Brendon Hartley led the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson – who had his third spin of the weekend – and teammate Charles Leclerc, having his first outing in the car this weekend after sitting out FP1 in place of reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi. Highlighting how closely competitive the midfield battle is expected to be this weekend, Ericsson’s best time was less than a second of Grosjean’s.
The bottom of the timesheets featured the usual suspects, with the understeering Williams’ of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin sandwiching the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne – the Belgian was running a new chassis after complaining bitterly about his previous MCL33 chassis in Germany where he was well off the pace.
Saturday’s on-track sees the third practice session take place at 12:00 followed by qualifying at 15:00 local time (GMT +2).
|FORMULA 1 ROLEX MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:16.834||45|
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:16.908||+ 0.074||35|
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:17.061||+ 0.227||36|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:17.153||+ 0.319||40|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:17.587||+ 0.753||43|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:17.868||+ 1.034||46|
|7.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:18.065||+ 1.231||39|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:18.495||+ 1.661||38|
|9.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:18.518||+ 1.684||43|
|10.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:18.761||+ 1.927||41|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:18.850||+ 2.016||42|
|12.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:18.857||+ 2.023||38|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:18.880||+ 2.046||35|
|14.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:18.913||+ 2.079||23|
|15.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:18.916||+ 2.082||41|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:19.043||+ 2.209||42|
|17.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:19.137||+ 2.303||38|
|18.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:19.645||+ 2.811||45|
|19.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:19.712||+ 2.878||38|
|20.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:19.770||+ 2.936||45|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari