Defending champions Mercedes-AMG cast an ominous warning for this weekend’s Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas comfortably led proceedings in Friday’s opening practice session.
The pair may have been separated by just 0.08 seconds on the stopwatch, but the gap to the rest of the field – headed by the Racing Point Mercedes’ of Sergio Pérez and his teammate Lance Stroll – was vast: over half a second.
Perhaps more worrying was that Hamilton’s time was posted on the Pirelli Hard tyre, the slowest compound available this weekend. Teammate Bottas clocked his best effort on the middle-range Medium compound rubber, while Pérez needed Soft tyres to get within 0.527 seconds of Hamilton’s session-topping lap time of 1:16.003. Pérez delivered one of the few incidents in a relatively drama-free session, heavily flat-spotting a set of tyres with a violent lock-up under braking for Turn 1.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was the first non-Mercedes powered runner in fifth place, with the Australian the last of the quintet to best last year’s FP1 top time of 1:17.233.
Sebastian Vettel was sixth-quickest in a relatively promising session for Scuderia Ferrari, with the German driver – who is the subject of increasing rumours that he is in negotiations with Racing Point – beating teammate Charles Leclerc by less than two-tenths of a second.
By contrast, it was an off-song session for Red Bull Racing, a team many predicted before this weekend would be the pacesetters at the high-downforce Hungaroring. Max Verstappen could manage no better than the eighth-fatest time, although the Dutch driver was upset at Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi with whom he had more than one run-in during the session.
Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon was well down the time sheets for much of the session while he tested a new rear wing endplate design, but a late effort saw him close to within three-tenths of Verstappen’s time to place thirteenth-fastest.
Completing the top ten were McLaren’s Lando Norris and Renault’s Esteban Ocon – the former’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. was eleventh-quickest ahead of the Haas Ferrari of Kevin Magnussen.
|FORMULA 1 ARAMCO MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:16.003||37|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:16.089||+ 0.086||37|
|3.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:16.530||+ 0.527||20|
|4.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:16.967||+ 0.964||35|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:17.200||+ 1.197||28|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:17.238||+ 1.235||26|
|7.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:17.404||+ 1.401||29|
|8.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:17.435||+ 1.432||28|
|9.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:17.523||+ 1.520||26|
|10.||Esteban Ocon||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:17.615||+ 1.612||35|
|11.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:17.675||+ 1.672||32|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:17.713||+ 1.710||35|
|13.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:17.727||+ 1.724||28|
|14.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:17.890||+ 1.887||35|
|15.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:17.969||+ 1.966||31|
|16.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:18.292||+ 2.289||35|
|17.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:18.425||+ 2.422||30|
|18.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:18.574||+ 2.571||29|
|19.||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:19.150||+ 3.147||26|
|20.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||no time||0|
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team