Hungary, FP3: Hamilton quickest in final practice for Hungarian GP

Aead of Verstappen, Bottas

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By Olivier Ferret

31 July 2021 - 13:04
Hungary, FP3: Hamilton quickest in (...)

Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat title rival Max Verstappen to top spot in final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the defending champion Mercedes driver lapping the Hungaroring just 0.088s faster than the Red Bull man. Valtteri Bottas finished third a little over two tenths of a second off his Mercedes team-mate’s pace.

Hamilton was to the fore early on and after top spot had been traded between Ferrarir’s Carlos Sainz and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen in the opening exchanges, the seven-time champion went well clear at the top of the order with a lap of 1:18.587s. He pitted immediately after the attempt, at which point his pit crew removed a pin stuck in his front-right tyre.

Returning to the track Hamilton then lowered the benchmark to 1:18.204 before Verstappen emerged for his first run of the morning and immediately jumped to top spot with a lap of 1:17.510s, almost seven tenths of a second clear of Hamilton.

However, the Dutchman’s stay at the top was brief as Bottas was close behind on track and when the Finn crossed the line he stopped the clock at 1:17.428s.

That was how it stood at the half way mark and following a pause to plan for the qualifying sims, Lando Norris was the first to venture out on new softs. The McLaren driver immediately vaulted from P9 to P3 giving an indication of the improvement to be had.

Bottas then reappeared and improved on his earlier time to set a new target of 1:17.055s, but then the action was halted as Mick Schumacher crashed and the red flags were flown.

The German rookie lost control of the rear of his Haas in Turn 11 and slid

backwards at high-speed. He broadsided the barriers causing substantial damage to the left side of his car.

When the session resumed Verstappen was swiftloy out on track and he moved back to the top spot with a lap of 1:16.914. Hamilton would not be denied, however, and he managed to edge past the Red Bull with a best lap of 1:16.826.

Bottas held onto third ahead of Sainz and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, with Norris sixth ahead of Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for McLaren ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, with Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10 for Aston Martin.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:16.826 20
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:16.914 13
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:17.055 15
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:17.497 20
05 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:17.520 16
06 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:17.772 12
07 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:17.917 12
08 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:17.942 15
09 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:17.992 15
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:18.050 16
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:18.115 17
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:18.174 15
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:18.235 15
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:18.461 25
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:18.683 21
16 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:18.794 14
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:18.821 15
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:19.113 14
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:19.406 15
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:19.933 16

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