Hamilton Narrowly Ahead in Opening Practice in Hungary


Lewis Hamilton went quickest in a closely-matched opening practice session for the Hungary Grand Prix, with the championship leader finishing just under 1700ths of a second ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who finished second and third respectively.

There was trouble, however, for Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with the Finn failing to set a time after his car suffered and early engine issue.

Bottas’ power unit issue was identified after the Finnish driver had completed just two installation laps and after Mercedes elected to complete and engine change, Bottas failed to run for the rest of the 90-minute session.

Hamilton set his benchmark time of 1:17.233 a third of the way into the session, despite spots of rain falling on the track. With a little over half an hour remaining Vettel then closed in, the German putting in a lap of 1:17.399 to set 0.166s behind Hamilton.

The Ferrari driver held on to P2 on the timesheet until the final quarter of an hour, when Verstappen found a small improvement that edged him one thousandth of a second ahead of the Ferrari. Verstappen was not happy with his RB15, however, complaining that it was overly sensitive throughout.

Fourth place in the session went to Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman put in his best time of the session half an hour from the end of the session, using a new set of soft tyres to post a time of 1:17.682, 0.449 adrift of Hamilton.

While Vettel ended the session in third place, team-mate Charles Leclerc found himself well off the pace in the first session, taking sixth place almost a second off Hamilton’s pace after a less than perfect lap on soft tyres.

Leclerc’s lapse allowed Haas’ Kevin Magnussen to slip past and claim fifth, seven tenths of a second Hamilton and more than two tenths clear of the second Ferrari driver.

Seventh place in the session went to Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, though the German was closely followed by the two customer Renault-powered McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz. The top 10 order was closed out by Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen who was 1.5s off the pace.

2019 FIA Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 41 1:17.233
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 28 1:17.398 0.165
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 25 1:17.399 0.166
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing 25 1:17.682 0.449
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas 31 1:17.942 0.709
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 29 1:18.188 0.955
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 31 1:18.417 1.184
8 Lando Norris McLaren 34 1:18.531 1.298
9 Carlos Sainz McLaren 23 1:18.702 1.469
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 32 1:18.787 1.554
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 30 1:18.894 1.661
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 32 1:18.973 1.740
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 33 1:18.982 1.749
14 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 28 1:19.223 1.990
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point 20 1:19.325 2.092
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 24 1:19.488 2.255
17 George Russell Williams 33 1:19.649 2.416
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 34 1:19.722 2.489
19 Robert Kubica Williams 30 1:20.322 3.089
20 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 2

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