FP1: Hard-tyred Hamilton blitzes 2019 times

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Chasing a record eighth Hungarian GP victory, Lewis Hamilton made his mark in FP1, going quicker than all free practice times set last year at the Hungaroring.

Arriving at the Hungaroring for the third race in F1’s opening triple header, the Hungarian Grand Prix, the story was Lewis Hamilton and will he or won’t he match Michael Schumacher’s record for the most wins at a single grand prix.

If Hamilton wins on Sunday, it will be his eighth Hungarian GP, and he will tie the German in the first of the Schumacher records that the Mercedes driver is chasing this season.

Hamilton ventured out for his first lap 15 minutes into the session with title rival Max Verstappen top of the timesheets with a 1:18.3. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who leads the championship by six points ahead of Sunday’s race, hit the front before Hamilton overhauled him and then Bottas went quicker still, a 1:16.5. Hamilton hit back with a 1:16.1.

Robert Kubica, replacing Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo for first practice, had a spin coming out of the pits as a few drops of rain came down.

Mercedes held down the 1-2 on the soft tyres after the first 40 minutes as the drivers headed back to the pits to hand their first set of tyres back to Pirelli. Sergio Perez was third on the hard tyres ahead of Lance Stroll with Nicholas Latifi, on the soft Pirellis, up into fifth place. Charles Leclerc on the mediums was P6.

While his rivals pitted, Pierre Gasly was still sitting in the pits without a single lap on the board. When his AlphaTauri was fired up for the start of FP1, Honda reportedly noted an anomaly with his data. He did not put a single lap.

Romain Grosjean broke the silence as he left the pits to begin part two of the session with others, including the Mercedes team-mates, following him out. Several opted to head out on new soft tyres, hoping to take advantage of a break in the gentle drizzle.

Bottas went quickest with a 1:16.0, 0.037s ahead of Hamilton, while Perez closed the gap to the Mercedes drivers, just 0.6s down. Stroll did the same, sitting 0.3s further back. Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault moved up fifth ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Verstappen. The Dutchman was 1.3s slower than the Mercedes drivers.

Verstappen called Latifi a “beep, beep blind beep” as the Canadian got in his way through Turn 1 while Stroll also complained that a Williams “completely” blocked him. His team-mate Perez had a massive lock up, went off the track and flat spotted his tyres. He pitted and didn’t return to the action.

Hamilton returned to the track on a set of hard tyres and laid down a 1:16.003 to top FP1 ahead of Bottas. The gap between the title protagonists just 0.086s with Perez 0.527s off the pace.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.003 37 laps hard
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.086s 37 laps medium
3 Sergio Perez Racing Point 0.527s 20 laps soft
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point 0.964s 35 laps soft
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.197s 28 laps medium
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1.235s 26 laps medium
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1.401s 29 laps medium
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.432s 28 laps soft
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1.520s 26 laps soft
10 Esteban Ocon Renault 1.612s 35 laps medium
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.672s 32 laps soft
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.710s 35 laps medium
13 Alex Albon Red Bull 1.724s 28 laps soft
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.887s 35 laps medium
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.966s 31 medium
16 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 2.289s 35 laps medium
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 2.422s 30 laps medium
18 George Russell Williams 2.571s 29 laps medium
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Racing 3.147s 26 laps medium
20 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri no lap

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