Lewis Hamilton looked to dispel any leftover doubts from his troubled race at the Hockenheimring by opening the first practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix with the fastest overall lap time.

The five-time reigning World Champion earned his worst result of the season last time out in Germany – his weekend was further blighted by an illness – but appeared to have shaken off any concerns determined to return to the top of the timesheets.

The Englishman had a busy 90-minute session, clocking the most laps of the twisty Hungaroring circuit – 41 in all – and posting a fastest lap time of 1:17.233 to end up quickest overall in FP1.

That being said, the session did not go entirely Mercedes’ way, with Hamilton’s teammate and closest championship rival Valtteri Bottas encountering engine trouble early on. The Finn’s car was confined to the garage for almost the entire session, with the team opting to perform a complete power unit change in time for FP2 to allow it to diagnose the cause of his misfire.

Up at the front, Hamilton narrowly edged out German Grand Prix victor Max Verstappen in the Red Bull Racing Honda by just 0.16 seconds. The Dutch driver’s session featured a spin at the exit of the last corner, and he was closely matched by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with the pair’s fastest laps of the session just one-thousandth of a second apart.

Not surprisingly given it has had the fastest car in a straight line all season, Vettel was the quickest driver in the opening sector which features the lap’s two DRS zones. But the German found his speed fading as the lap wore on through the twistier second and third sectors, where Hamilton and Verstappen’s better-handling cars proved to have the upper hand.

Pierre Gasly finished fourth-fastest in the second Red Bull Honda, less than half a second off Hamilton’s benchmark time.

The curious case of the Haas F1 Team’s unpredictable VF-19 chassis appear set to continue this weekend. Kevin Magnussen was largely unable to extract any improvements in his updated package last time out in Germany – where he was slower than his teammate Romain Grosjean running Australian Grand Prix aerodynamics – this time the Dane was flying. He finished the session a superb fifth-fastest, while Grosjean was over a second slower and complaining of a lack of grip.

Charles Leclerc struggled to stay tidy on his ‘push’ lap runs and managed an unrepresentative sixth-fastest, almost a second off Hamilton’s session-topping pace.

The top-ten was completed by Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg, the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr., and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen.

One team that particularly looked to be struggling in the session was Racing Point. Both Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez struggled for grip and balance, with their sessions featuring several lock-ups under braking. Both drivers also had wild spins during the session.

Stroll looped his car when he took too much kerb through the Turn 6/7 chicane, while a few minutes later Pérez spun his car on cold tyres at Turn 8. Both headed back to the pits, having sustained minor bodywork and front wing damage to their cars.

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:17.233 41
2. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB15 1:17.398 + 0.165 28
3. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:17.399 + 0.166 25
4. Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing RB15 1:17.682 + 0.449 25
5. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:17.942 + 0.709 31
6. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:18.188 + 0.955 29
7. Nico Hülkenberg Renault F1 Team RS19 1:18.417 + 1.184 31
8. Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:18.531 + 1.298 34
9. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:18.702 + 1.469 23
10. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:18.787 + 1.554 32
11. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team RS19 1:18.894 + 1.661 30
12. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:18.973 + 1.740 32
13. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:18.982 + 1.749 33
14. Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:19.223 + 1.990 28
15. Sergio Pérez Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:19.325 + 2.092 20
16. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:19.488 + 2.255 24
17. George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:19.649 + 2.416 33
18. Lance Stroll Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:19.722 + 2.489 34
19. Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:20.322 + 3.089 30
20. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 no time 2

Image via Motorsport.com

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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.