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