Hungaroring, FP: De Vries dominates in Budapest Free Practice
Stylish Dutchman leads the way in Round 8, ahead of Schumacher and Hubert
Nyck de Vries was back on top this afternoon in Budapest, as the Championship leader dominated Free Practice at the Hungaroring. The ART Grand Prix man was in red-hot form, beating out rookie duo Mick Schumacher, of PREMA, and Anthoine Hubert, of BWT Arden, who completed the top three.
Jordan King swiftly got us underway on a dry and muggy Hungaroring track, having seen a brief spot of rain in the earlier F1 FP1 session. The rain stayed away for F2 and Luca Ghiotto made the most of a clean circuit to dip under 1m 30s, as he looked to carry on his form from Silverstone.
A virtual safety car briefly came into play, after Sean Gelael had stopped off track having spun at Turn 8. When it ended, it was Hubert on top, but De Vries nailed his next tour of the track and snatched P1 from the Frenchman.
Nicholas Latifi - who was languishing down in 12th - looked to improve on his time and clamber up the order, but came unstuck when he hit traffic. There was a similar problem for Ghiotto, who had fallen to 8th, and he was also unable to improve.
Schumacher avoided the same misfortune and raced round to climb ahead of Hubert and nestle neatly beneath De Vries, as the German eyed his highest session placing this season.
Returning Trident racer Ralph Boschung brought the session to a halt when he appeared to lose his rear under braking and slammed into the wall. He clambered out of the car in good shape, appearing unharmed, but his session was frustratingly over.
The subsequent red flag cost the field valuable time as the clock continued to tick on, but they were able to return to the field swiftly and had 12 minutes to improve. Despite the leftover time, the order remained relatively unshuffled going into the final 90 seconds, with the front three proving unbeatable.
Despite a brief spin on Turn 5 towards the end, De Vries proved unwavering and held onto P1, ahead of Schumacher and Hubert. King and Guanyu Zhou completed the top five, followed by Jack Aitken, Sérgio Sette Câmara, Ghiotto, Nobuharu Matsushita and Callum Ilott.
The Dutchman will look for the same form when the cars return to track for qualifying at 4.55pm this afternoon (local time) and the drivers will be hoping the rain stays away, with dark clouds looming overhead.
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