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McLaren on top on first day in Hungary
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Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Jul 2012   |  4:41 pm GMT  |  16 comments

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton set the pace on day one of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, the last F1 race before the summer shut down.

Hamilton topped the time sheets in both sessions with team mate Jenson Button second in the dry morning session. The afternoon session started dry but was was punctuated by rain, making it the third weekend in a row that a Friday afternoon session has been rain affected. Kimi Raikkonen set the second fastest time in the afternoon; like Hamilton and Alonso he used the soft tyre.

Although track temperatures of 45 degrees were recorded today, there is rain in the air and the chances of rain during Sunday’s race are currently given as 50%.

After the negative result in Germany, where he punctured, was lapped and eventually retired, this was a positive start to the weekend for Hamilton, even if his rivals’ form is hard to judge based on the circumstances of this Friday running. But the extensive upgrades McLaren has made in recent weeks certainly seem to be working.

“It’s been a really positive day. I’m very, very happy,” said Hamilton. “We made some good changes to the car to get it dialled in, and we’re on the right path, but we’ve still got some work to do. The Red Bull looks very quick, so does the Lotus, and obviously the Ferrari as well. So we’re by no means feeling comfortable.”

One of the reasons it’s hard to draw too many conclusions is that not everyone tried the soft Pirelli tyre, which is expected to be around 0.5s a lap faster in one lap pace than the medium. Among those not to try it was Sebastian Vettel.

And Michael Schumacher, who has twice qualified strongly in the rain, but also crashed in practice, had another accident in the wet, which he described as “my little crash”

“I just locked up and ran out of road,” he said. “By hitting the tyres, I lost the front wing, but other than that, nothing is damaged on the car, I believe. It was the kind of incident that happens when suddenly a shower hits the dry track.

“The car felt okay until then, and we will now look deep into our data to find a good way to approach qualifying and the race. The rain might undoubtedly be an opportunity but I am not totally sure about the forecast. Let’s see what we can take away from here.”

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Hungaroring, Friday Practice 2

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m21.995 20 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m22.180s + 0.185 20
3. Bruno Senna Williams 1m22.253s + 0.258 33
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.417s + 0.422 28
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.582s + 0.587 22
6. Jenson Button McLaren 1m22.747s + 0.752 17
7. Paul di Resta Force India 1m22.794s + 0.799 23
8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m22.824s + 0.829 18
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m22.922s + 0.927 12
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.160s + 1.165 19
11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.164s + 1.169 28
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m23.337s + 1.342 26
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m23.713s + 1.718 25
14. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.814s + 1.819 17
15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m23.841s + 1.846 28
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m24.328s + 2.333 23
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m24.345s + 2.350 27
18. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m24.623s + 2.628 22
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m24.823s + 2.828 28
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m25.220s + 3.225 28
21. Timo Glock Marussia 1m27.104s + 5.109 27
22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m27.106s + 5.111 18
23. Charles Pic Marussia 1m27.185s + 5.190 22
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m27.822s + 5.827 20

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16 Comments
  1. Tomorrow should be an exciting quali tomorrow James Lotus, Ferrari and McLaren all look nip and tuck, the Williams looks great and Red Bull always seem to find something on a Saturday in Q3..who do you think’s going to win?

  2. Methusalem says:

    McLaren is acting a lot better now. Last year Hamilton topped the time for the Hungarian GP weekend in 1:21.018, during the 2nd practice session. Vettels qualifying time back then was: 1:21.740. I think they will be faster this year. Anyways, what’s wrong with the “Rain god” Schumi?

  3. goferet says:

    It’s always a positive sign for Lewis fans whenever Lewis makes statements such as … I’m very, very happy,”

    On the other hand whenever Lewis says on a Friday…
    ”We’re really struggling, I expect a tough, tough, race” … then expect disaster come Sunday e.g. What happened in Bahrain, Valencia and Germany.

    Anyway relieved to see the Mclaren upgrades are back on song, this will make the qualifying battles between Mclaren & Red Bulls (read Lewis Vs Sebi) something to behold.

    Now, as Jenson says, the Lotus maybe a force to be reckoned with come race day due to the high temperatures expected on race day but then again if it rains (which I doubt) then Lotus once again will have a missed opportunity to reflect on after the fact.

    Meanwhile, in FP2 it was surprising to see Massa’s name ahead of his teammate’s and all this on Massa’s bogey track, I guess the speed is there it’s just the race craft & luck that’s lacking.

    Regards Schumi, I will be beyond surprised if he extends his contract, can’t be much fun having to explain yourself every other weekend.

    As for Grosjean, he should stop being so difficult and accept Sir Jackie Stewart’s help to mentor him before it’s too late.

  4. goferet says:

    My prediction for qualifying

    1. Hammy
    2. Jenson
    3. Webber
    4. Alonso
    5. Vettel
    6. Grosjean
    7. Massa

  5. Crusty says:

    A big story that’s going without much comment is Lotus.

    James, is Raikkonen actually running now the new rear wing device that he’s testing for Spa?

    KR clocked his 1.22.180 in a very short run of one timed lap. Was that with or without new stuff?
    I get the impression that LH, who took several laps to better it, was running on fumes probably, just to get the lap time. This KR would not normally bother to do in friday practice.

    1. Antti says:

      Kimi ran the new wing only during the first practice.

    2. SP says:

      I believe both he and Grosjean were running an updated nosecone and Kimi carried on further test with their new DRS system. He radioed in to say it seemed to be working well.

      Sadly though, I feel the chance for Kimi’s and Lotus’s win in his 1st year back seems to be slipping away. Their rivals have advanced well and it’ll be hard to keep in touch.

      Either way, Kimi is still doing a superb job. And if I were to rate all the top drivers this year, he comes in at 2nd :)

  6. Kidza says:

    Mclaren are back and have a real chance to challenge for both titles if they can stay free of the mistakes that plagued them earlier in the season.

    Even though they did not win at Hockenheim, I thought that for the first time this whole season Mclaren had the fastest car in both race and qualifying trim.

    Thus far Alonso has beaten the Mclarens because he had much better understanding of the tyres, an unexpected blessing in disguise from Ferrari’s pre-season testing struggles. Tyres will soon not be an issue.

    Fernando has a good cushion, I think he will need it because it’s actually true what Ferrari keep saying. The F2012 is not that quick.

  7. Michael S says:

    If it stays dry I like Kimi’s chances Sunday

  8. Carlos Molero says:

    Does Alonso run the softer tire today? The gap it’s too big, but we’ll see tomorrow if they can Find the pace, they always do

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes. It’s in the story

  9. johnybravo says:

    Alonso is going to win just because he is Alonso and he’s the best at the moment. He is the rain god an has been for many years already – don’t get who still thinks Schumacher does it well in wet?
    Regarding McLaren – car is definetely much better than few races before but races are won on Sunday – not Friday and are won on long stints – not short ones running on fumes.
    Short reminder for McLaren fans – Button had nothing agains Alonso a week ago besides genius calculations by SkyF1 and McLaren – that Alonso’s tyres will be bust 5 laps to finnish – we’ve seen who’s tyres were bust actually.

  10. db4tim says:

    Fernando is staying low key…:)

  11. Geee says:

    Would be great to see Kimi on pole! If not Jenson please…

  12. Ryan Eckford says:

    Based on watching live timing, McLaren looked supremely quick from the get go. They are back.

  13. Guy says:

    Seems to be a link problem on your mapping article>

    thanks for the interesting articles

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