Barely a whisker split the top three teams in final practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton just pipping Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to top spot on the time sheets.
With Friday’s two practice sessions impacted by showers, the sun made an appearance on Saturday morning. The session started ten minutes late and ran to a reduced 50-minute duration after emergency works were carried out at Turn 4 to clean up a huge oil spill left by an engine failure in the earlier Formula 2 Championship Feature Race.
Once the heavy layer of cement dust had been thrown down and then cleared away as the F1 drivers continued to lap the circuit, track conditions improved rapidly. Hamilton’s benchmark time, a 1:16.084, broke the circuit’s unofficial lap record previously held by Vettel. The current championship leader led a top-three that was split by just 0.084 seconds, triggering hopes that fans will be treated to a genuine tussle in this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Their respective teammates occupied the next three positions on the timesheets, with Valtteri Bottas placing fourth-fastest ahead of Ferrari counterpart Charles Leclerc and FP2 pace-setter Pierre Gasly in the Red Bull Racing Honda.
Fractionally slower than Gasly was McLaren’s Lando Norris, who had another impressive session to lead the ‘best of the rest’ charge. He and his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. sandwiched the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen, while the Haas Ferraris of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten.
Slipping out of the top ten were Scuderia Toro Rosso and Renault. German Grand Prix star performers Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon – who crashed dramatically in FP2 – placed 12th and 17th-fastest respectively, while their Renault counterparts Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were 13th and 16th.
A team showing improvement was this year’s cellar-dwellers, Williams. The heavily upgraded FW42 has looked a far more competitive prospect this weekend than it has at any point this season, and George Russell was able to outpace the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, with the Englishman lapping within two seconds of Hamilton’s benchmark time.
|FORMULA 1 ROLEX MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:16.084||21|
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:16.097||+ 0.013||16|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:16.166||+ 0.082||18|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:16.355||+ 0.271||19|
|5.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:16.392||+ 0.308||18|
|6.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:16.684||+ 0.600||19|
|7.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:16.774||+ 0.690||20|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:17.216||+ 1.132||22|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:17.217||+ 1.133||23|
|10.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:17.230||+ 1.146||17|
|11.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:17.293||+ 1.209||21|
|12.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:17.432||+ 1.348||21|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:17.667||+ 1.583||19|
|14.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:17.670||+ 1.586||17|
|15.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:17.929||+ 1.845||22|
|16.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:17.962||+ 1.878||19|
|17.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:18.024||+ 1.940||19|
|18.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:18.072||+ 1.988||23|
|19.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:18.534||+ 2.450||20|
|20.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:18.709||+ 2.625||26|
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport