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Hungaroring, FP3: Hamilton just 0.13s ahead of Verstappen

A tight final practice session in Hungary

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By Olivier Ferret

3 August 2019 - 13:04
Hungaroring, FP3: Hamilton just (...)

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton went narrowly quickest in final practice for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, beating Max Verstappen by just 1300ths of a second, with Sebastian Vettel just 0.069s further back in third.

Mercedes driver Hamilton’s best time came with just 30 seconds remaining on the clock of what proved to an extremely tight session at the Hungaroring in which the top five drivers in the session were covered by just three tenths of a second.

The session got underway 10 minutes late owing to a clean-up operation being undertaken at Turn 4 after a blown engine for Ralph Boschung in the earlier Formula 2 race led to a substantial amount of oil being deposited on track.

After an early period in which times tumbled quickly as drivers tested the conditions, especially in the oil-affected stretch, Hamilton established an early benchmark with a lap of 1:17.051.

Red Bull’s Verstappen then went for a second run on the same set of soft tyres and he went two hundredths of a second quicker than the Briton to claim top spot.

The Dutchman then pitted for a new set of softs and this time lowered the benchmark substantially, setting a time of 1:16.647. That marker didn’t last long, however, as both Hamilton and Leclerc were starting flying laps as Verstappen crossed the line and both soon went quicker than the Red Bull driver, with Hamilton in P1 with a lap of 1:16.339 ahead of Leclerc. Verstappen then got down to 1:16.

After a brief pause McLaren’s Lando Norris then sparked the final series of quick runs on soft tyres when he jumped to fifth place with a good time of 1:16.774.

The top three then all headed out on track with Verstappen first across the line. The Dutch driver regained top spot with a lap of 1:16.097 that included purple sectors in the last two third of the lap but which might have been better but for a slightly scrappy first sector.

Ferrari’s Vettel, who had hovered at the outer edges of the top five for the bulk of the session then showed his qualifying hand with a good lap of 1:16.166 to sit take P2 0.069s behind Verstappen.

Hamilton though was not to be denied and the Mercedes driver held his nerve to steal P1 with a late flying lap completed just 30 seconds before the chequered flag was shown.

Behind the top three fourth place was taken by Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes. The Finn finished 0.271 behind his team-mate and might have been closer but for a small mistake and traffic on final run.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fifth ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly who finished almost six tenths of a second behind team-mate Verstappen.

After his good work earlier in the session Norris ended up with seventh place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen. Eighth place went to Carlos Sainz in the second McLaren. The Spaniard finished almost half a second behind team-mate Norris but complained of a misfiring engine during the session. Tenth place was taken by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:16.084 21
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:16.097 16
03 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:16.166 18
04 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:16.355 19
05 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:16.392 18
06 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda RB15 1:16.684 19
07 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:16.774 20
08 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:17.216 22
09 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:17.217 23
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:17.230 17
11 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:17.293 21
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:17.432 21
13 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:17.667 19
14 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:17.670 17
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:17.929 22
16 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:17.962 19
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:18.024 19
18 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 1:18.072 23
19 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:18.534 20
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes FW42 1:18.709 26

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