Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton went narrowly quickest in final practice for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, beating Max Verstappen by just 1300ths of a second, with Sebastian Vettel just 0.069s further back in third.
Mercedes driver Hamilton’s best time came with just 30 seconds remaining on the clock of what proved to an extremely tight session at the Hungaroring in which the top five drivers in the session were covered by just three tenths of a second.
The session got underway 10 minutes late owing to a clean-up operation being undertaken at Turn 4 after a blown engine for Ralph Boschung in the earlier Formula 2 race led to a substantial amount of oil being deposited on track.
After an early period in which times tumbled quickly as drivers tested the conditions, especially in the oil-affected stretch, Hamilton established an early benchmark with a lap of 1:17.051.
Red Bull’s Verstappen then went for a second run on the same set of soft tyres and he went two hundredths of a second quicker than the Briton to claim top spot.
The Dutchman then pitted for a new set of softs and this time lowered the benchmark substantially, setting a time of 1:16.647. That marker didn’t last long, however, as both Hamilton and Leclerc were starting flying laps as Verstappen crossed the line and both soon went quicker than the Red Bull driver, with Hamilton in P1 with a lap of 1:16.339 ahead of Leclerc. Verstappen then got down to 1:16.
After a brief pause McLaren’s Lando Norris then sparked the final series of quick runs on soft tyres when he jumped to fifth place with a good time of 1:16.774.
The top three then all headed out on track with Verstappen first across the line. The Dutch driver regained top spot with a lap of 1:16.097 that included purple sectors in the last two third of the lap but which might have been better but for a slightly scrappy first sector.
Ferrari’s Vettel, who had hovered at the outer edges of the top five for the bulk of the session then showed his qualifying hand with a good lap of 1:16.166 to sit take P2 0.069s behind Verstappen.
Hamilton though was not to be denied and the Mercedes driver held his nerve to steal P1 with a late flying lap completed just 30 seconds before the chequered flag was shown.
Behind the top three fourth place was taken by Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes. The Finn finished 0.271 behind his team-mate and might have been closer but for a small mistake and traffic on final run.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fifth ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly who finished almost six tenths of a second behind team-mate Verstappen.
After his good work earlier in the session Norris ended up with seventh place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen. Eighth place went to Carlos Sainz in the second McLaren. The Spaniard finished almost half a second behind team-mate Norris but complained of a misfiring engine during the session. Tenth place was taken by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.
2019 FIA Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21 1:16.084
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 16 1:16.097 0.013
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 18 1:16.166 0.082
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 19 1:16.355 0.271
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 18 1:16.392 0.308
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing 19 1:16.684 0.600
7 Lando Norris McLaren 20 1:16.774 0.690
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 22 1:17.216 1.132
9 Carlos Sainz McLaren 23 1:17.217 1.133
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 17 1:17.230 1.146
11 Romain Grosjean Haas 21 1:17.293 1.209
12 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso 21 1:17.432 1.348
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 19 1:17.667 1.583
14 Sergio Perez Racing Point 17 1:17.670 1.586
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 22 1:17.929 1.845
16 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 19 1:17.962 1.878
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 19 1:18.024 1.940
18 George Russell Williams 23 1:18.072 1.988
19 Lance Stroll Racing Point 20 1:18.534 2.450
20 Robert Kubica Williams 26 1:18.709 2.625