Hungaroring, FP3: Latifi tops wet final practice session for Williams 

Leclerc 2nd, Albon 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

30 July 2022 - 14:11
Hungaroring, FP3: Latifi tops wet (...)

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi profited from a rapidly improving track at the end of a wet-drying session to top the timesheets in final practice for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished second, 0.6s off the Canadian, and Alex Albon was third in the other Williams FW44.

Heavy rain in advance of final practice meant conditions at the start of the one-hour session were treacherous but Leclerc was one of the first on track and he was joined, four minutes into the session, by Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz. Both were on full wet tyres.

It was Sainz who established the early benchmark with a lap of 1:45.569, well over 20s down on Friday’s best times in dry conditions. Lerclerc soon took over at the top with a lap of 1:43.364 as the rain began to stop and that prompted Alpine’s Fernando Alonso to test the conditions on green-banded intermediate tyres.

The two-time champion’s efforts were not wholly successful but after moving to seventh, some 4.5s off the pace, he then improved significantly to move to third behind Sainz, 2.4s off leader Leclerc.

Aston Martin due Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, both on full wets, then improved to dislodge Alonso, with Vettel 2.2s off Leclerc and Stroll a further two tenths back. Then, with the first third of the session complete, the rain began to intensify.

It led to a five-minutes lull in improvements but then Haas’ Mick Schumacher took the track on full wets and despite reporting "a lot of standings water" the German jumped up to third place, 1.7s off the pace.

As the session reached the halfway mark the rain began to ease off and Vettel promptly moved to second thanks to a lap of 1:44.178 that left him +0.8s behind Leclerc. McLaren’s Lando Norris then took his McLaren to fourth, + 1.2s behind thanks to a lap of 1:44.635.

There was no sign of either Red Bull Racing driver in the opening phases of the session but with a little under 20 minutes left on the clock both Max Versatppen and Sergio Pérez joined the action. And while Pérez struggled in the conditions, before eventually retiring to his garage for tweaks, Verstappen, after some exploratory laps, made his way to P9 with a lap of 1:45.232 that left him 1.8s off Leclerc.

With 11 minutes left, Alonso jumped up to second on intermediate tyres, just 0.206s off Leclerc’s wet-tyre benchmark, but there the improvements halted.

With nine minutes remaining Vettel lost the rear of his Aston Martin on the run to Turn 10 and he spun through the gravel trap and into the barriers bringing out the red flags.

The session was stopped for five minutes while the German’s car was recovered and with the sun shining and the track drying quickly, it was clear that when the green lights were shown, the final four minutes would offer up considerable improvements.

And it was Latifi who made the most of the conditions. Verstappen jumped to P1 with a lap of 1:43.205 in the final moments, Leclerc pushed past that with a lap of 1:42.141, over a second better, and then Albon split the championship leaders with a lap of 1:42.381.

Latifi, though, was the last man to cross the line and in the rapidly improving conditions he eclipsed them all with a lap of 1:41.480, 0.661 clear of Leclerc.

Behind the top four, George Russell was fifth for Mercedes ahead of Alonso, while Sainz finished seventh ahead of Norris, Vettel and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.

01 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:41.480 17
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:42.141 14
03 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:42.381 19
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:43.205 10
05 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:43.434 13
06 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:43.570 16
07 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:43.589 15
08 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:43.743 13
09 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:44.178 14
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:44.655 20
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:44.832 11
12 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:45.156 18
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:45.570 17
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:45.624 11
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:45.638 17
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:45.691 17
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:45.850 17
18 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:45.930 20
19 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:46.091 18
20 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:48.240 11

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