Hungary, FP1 : Verstappen sets the pace

Bottas 2nd, Hamilton 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

30 July 2021 - 12:33
Hungary, FP1 : Verstappen sets the (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen went quickest in the opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, outpacing Mercedes Valtteri Bottas by six hundredths of a second with Lewis Hamilton a further tenth of a second back in third place in the other Mercedes.

In hot sunshine, after Daniel Ricciardo, Bottas and Pierre Gasly had all taken turns at the top of the timesheet, Verstappen set the early benchmark with a lap of 1m19.725 on hard tyres. Hamilton then slotted into second 0.146s behind the championship leader.

However, Verstappen continued to improve over a long first run as Honda assessed the engine that had been fitted to the car heavily damaged in his Silverstone clash with Hamilton and he eventually worked his way to a time of 1:19.025 by the quarter-hour mark.

Both Mercedes drivers then opted to move to the C4 compound soft tyre on offer from Pirelli this weekend and Bottas quickly moved to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:17.616. Hamilton’s first attempt handed him second place, 0.380s behind his team-mate as he complained of handling issues. He returned to the pit lane to make changes to the front wing of his car and then improved to sit 0.106 behind the Finn.

The session was then brought to a halt as Yuki Tsunoda crashed. The Japanese driver had already had one minor moment in Turn 9 but this time he took too much kerb in Turn 4 and lost the rear of his car. His AlphTauri swapped ends and he went backwards into the barriers. He was quickly out of the car but the session was red-flagged to allow for his AT02 to be recovered.

After a five-minute stoppage Verstappen then switched to softs and with a purple second sector helping jumped back to the top of the order with a lap of 1:17.555.

With the top three spots settled, fourth place in the session went to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and with Pierre Gasly fifth in the other AlphaTauri.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso finished sixth despite suffering a lurid early spin in Turn 4 early in the session. The Spaniard finished ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez finished eighth after improving with a soft tyre run late in the session. The Mexican finished ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the tenth-placed Aston Martin of Lance Stroll.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:17.555 21
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:17.616 26
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:17.722 14
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:18.115 24
05 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:18.181 27
06 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:18.385 26
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:18.391 23
08 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:18.466 20
09 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:18.649 26
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:18.755 25
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:18.765 26
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:18.770 18
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:18.989 22
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:19.265 27
15 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:19.724 24
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:19.824 24
17 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:20.383 26
18 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:20.639 23
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:20.992 23
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:21.889 5

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