Hungary, FP3: Hamilton quickest ahead of Verstappen in final practice

Perez 3rd, Hulkenberg 4th


By Franck Drui

22 July 2023 - 13:42
Hungary, FP3: Hamilton quickest (...)

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet in the final hour of practice ahead of the Qualifying for the 20223 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver beating Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen by more than two tenths of a second. The Red Bull driver’s team-mate, Sergio Pérez was third.

With the Alternative Tyre Allocation set to make its debut in Qualifying at the Hungaroring, a format that requires teams to use a Hard tyre in Q1, a Medium in Q2 and a Soft in Q3, there was plenty of action during FP3 with drivers pushing on all three compounds.

After relatively conservative early laps from AlphaTauri’s Daniel Riccirado and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Verstappen set the early pace with a lap of 1:18.478 set on new Medium tyres. The Dutchman’s time on the yellow-banded tyre remained the quickest for some time, despite a number of drivers running Soft tyres, including McLaren’s Oscar Piastri whose time of 1:18.949 handed him P3 behind Pérez. Alfa Romeo pair Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu then split the Red Bulls on fresh Softs tyres, with Bottas just a hundredth of a second off Verstappen’s Medium tyre best.

The Dutchman’s early lap remained the benchmark until well into the second half of the session, but eventually Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso found enough pace on new Softs to dislodge the champion. The Spanish veteran stopped the clock at 1:18.350, 0.128s clear of Verstappen.

Lando Norris then ousted Alonso, the McLaren driver using new Medium tyres to go almost three tenths of a second clear of the Aston Martin.

As the session entered its final quarter, Hamilton and fellow Mercedes driver George Russell headed out on Soft tyres. Russell claimed third place but Hamilton found more pace and he jumped to the top of the pile with a lap of 1: 17.811.

Verstappen then bolted on new Softs but he couldn’t make them work to his advantage and his best attempt on the red-banded tyres left him 0.250s behind the seven-time champion. Pérez slotted into third, 0.013s behind his team-mate before improving in the final moments to sit just 0.006s behind his team-mate.

Behind Pérez, Hülkenberg put in a good lap to rise to fourth, just 0.010 behind Pérez, and the Haas driver’s lap bounced Norris to fifth ahead of Russell.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz spent much of the session on longer medium-tyre runs but in the final part of the session they put in performance runs, with Leclerc taking sixth and Sainz seventh. After his mid-session stint in P1 Alonso slid to ninth place at the end of the hour, while Bottas rounded out the top 10, six tenths off Hamilton’s table topper.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:17.811 20
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:18.061 23
03 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:18.067 25
04 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:18.077 21
05 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:18.082 2+
06 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:18.119 22
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:18.190 39
08 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:18.234 29
09 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:18.350 20
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:18.489 24
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:18.536 20
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:18.544 23
13 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:18.592 17
14 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:18.598 19
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:18.649 26
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:18.776 22
17 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:18.814 16
18 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:18.828 28
19 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:18.979 22
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:19.156 29

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