Hungarian Grand Prix: George Russell quickest in a wet FP1 as Sergio Perez hits a new low

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez walks away from his crashed RB19. Hungary July 2023

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez walks away from his crashed RB19. Hungary July 2023

Between red flags for Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz as well as heavy rainfall, Friday’s opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix was more stop than start.

As such George Russell’s P1 time of 1:38.795 didn’t hold much weight in a session in which he finished ahead of Oscar Piastri and Lance Stroll, 0.359 seconds up.

Taking to the 14-corner high-downforce Hungaroring, all eyes were on the returning Daniel Ricciardo as he put in his very first laps in the AlphaTauri AT04. The Red Bull junior team joined the senior squad in opting to bring a raft of upgrades to Budapest with AlphaTauri chasing downforce and speed.

Sergio Perez brought out the red flags

Alas Guanyu Zhou ran into trouble on his out-lap with the driver reporting a loss of “energy” and he was told to box, Alfa Romeo’s Friday niggles once again in play.

As he made his way back to the pits the red flags were waved with Sergio Perez suffering a big hit as he touched the grass on the left side of the track, was pitched into a spin and went screaming into the Turn 5 barrier with his RB19 suffering extensive front-end damage.

“I cannot believe this,” said the distraught driver. “I clipped the grass on braking, I think. I just lost it.”

The drivers were back on track with 48 minutes on the clock and a few drops of rain falling on the pit straight. As the rain grew steadily heavier, Valtteri Bottas went around at Turn 12 and the drivers headed into the pits. Some 10 minutes later Lewis Hamilton went out on the intermediates but pitted after one lap with others following suit.

McLaren drivers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris were out, twitching from one corner to another, as the rain came chucking down halfway through the hour and once again all that was heard out on track was the sound of rainfall.

Carlos Sainz adds to the red flag count

With 20 minutes left in the session there was an uptick in the action with Logan Sargeant heading out along with Alex Albon, Bottas, Ricciardo and Max Verstappen… and then Carlos Sainz went off at Turn 3. He spun his Ferrari, clipped the barrier and then got stuck on the kerbs as he tried to get back onto the track with the marshals having to give him a push.

As the session was again paused, at least this time there were three times on the board with Sargeant having clocked a 1:46.8 to sit 0.5s up on Albon with Bottas a further 0.4s back. recommends

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The pit lane was green with 10 minutes to go with the drivers heading out one by one, but not Verstappen nor Hamilton as the World Champions climbed out of their cars, seemingly believing there wasn’t anything to gain. While they stayed dry, Sargeant went flying off the track but made good use of the run-off, Yuki Tsunoda broke his front wing spinning at Turn 5, and Fernando Alonso went quickest of all with a 1:40.6.

George Russell came through at the very end to post the fastest time, a 1:38.795, putting him 0.359s ahead of Piastri with Lance Stroll third. Ricciardo didn’t set a time.


1 George RUSSELL Mercedes 1:38.795
2 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.359
3 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1.218
4 Lando NORRIS McLaren +1.482
5 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.892
6 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +2.237
7 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +2.347
8 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +2.568
9 Logan SARGEANT Williams +2.621
10 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +3.911
11 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +4.111
12 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +6.780
13 Alexander ALBON Williams +8.612
14 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri no time
15 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari no time
16 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing no time
17 Esteban OCON Alpine no time
18 Pierre GASLY Alpine no time
19 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing no time
20 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes no time

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