FP2: Leclerc tops session, Norris P2 in speedy McLaren
Charles Leclerc went fastest in FP2 for the Hungarian Grand Prix, but McLaren showed a strong turn of pace as Lando Norris came in behind the Ferrari driver.
The top five was rounded out by Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and the sister McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo, with the Woking-based team likely to be encouraged by a fast Friday showing.
Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel showed solid one-lap pace as they ranked sixth and seventh, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez only managing P9.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate George Russell both struggled in qualifying trim, with Hamilton unable to make it into the top 10 and Russell only managing P8.
After Sainz took top spot in FP1, second practice would see perhaps more representative lap times as qualifying simulations would come into the equation, with the Hungaroring rubbering in and the teams turning their engines up a bit.
Medium tyres were the preferred compound in the early stages as the late-afternoon sun shone over Budapest, though the track temperature still hovered around a warm 50°C.
Leclerc set the early pace on a 1:18.911, comfortably ahead of his Ferrari team-mate in P2 after their initial flying runs.
Hamilton cut an exasperated figure on team radio after his first fast lap though, with a frustrated “1.9 (seconds) to the same tyre?” being said in response to hearing his gap to Leclerc at the top.
Hamilton runs wide at Turn 4
📻 "Car's unstable" he tells the team before returning to the pits #HungarianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/ga9LrTsDOK
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 29, 2022
But it would not be long before the drivers pitted for soft tyres, which started the drivers’ qualifying simulations. Alex Albon was the first to start, but his bouncing Williams sent itself into a spin while braking for Turn 1.
He was able to get going again eventually, but his flat-spotted tyres were no longer of use to him.
Norris became the first driver to jump above Leclerc on soft tyres, with his 1:18.662 then quickly passed by Leclerc once again, who went two tenths faster than the McLaren driver.
Sebastian Vettel moved himself into the top five on his first soft-tyre run, with the new Aston Martin rear wing endplates having raised eyebrows in the paddock on Friday, eventually ranking P7.
But Ricciardo moved in behind Norris in the timings to make it a McLaren two-three on the leaderboard at that point, their FP2 performance underlining the potential they showed in first practice, with signs that they could be in the mix for a strong result this weekend.
Mercedes struggled for pace, with Russell voicing his concerns about his car in the hard braking zone into Turn 1, locking his right-front tyre as he tried to extract pace from the W13.
Long run practice soon took over for the final 20 minutes of the session, but not without Leclerc being forced to pit with an apparent issue with his Ferrari – briefly getting pulled into the garage for checks before being sent back out again.
Verstappen was also suffering in the car, reporting oscillations as he ran through the fast left and right-handers at Turns 4 and 11 respectively – both of which taken at speeds upwards of 140mph.
Hamilton also reported instability in his Mercedes on his long run, as he ran wide at Turn 4 and struggled to get his car working to his liking.
But it was Leclerc who came out on top in the session, with Ferrari and Red Bull joined by McLaren in showing strong one-lap pace.
There is a 90% chance of rain for Saturday’s running, so an intriguing day awaits for FP3 and qualifying.
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.445 25 laps
2 Lando Norris McLaren 0.217s 27 laps
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.231s 28 laps
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.283s 24 laps
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 0.427s 25 laps
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine 0.604s 28 laps
7 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 0.808s 30 laps
8 George Russell Mercedes 0.910s 27 laps
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.952s 27 laps
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing 0.966s 29 laps
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.102s 22 laps
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing 1.160s 25 laps
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.169s 26 laps
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.257s 29 laps
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.285s 26 laps
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.373s 27 laps
17 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.540s 26 laps
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams 2.043s 28 laps
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 2.076s 29 laps
20 Alex Albon Williams 2.170s 20 laps
[All fastest times set on soft tyres]
Looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before Formula 1's summer break.