FP1: Mercedes blitz their rivals in Budapest


It may have only been first practice but there were ominous signs from Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were 1.6s quicker than their nearest rival in Hungary.

Overnight rain and a damp track meant Formula 1 made a slow start to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend as the drivers waited until the conditions had improved enough for slicks before laying down lap times.

As the track dried out, Nico Rosberg – with his new Mercedes contract in the bag – lowered the benchmark to a 1:22.801. That time was just 0.8s down on Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time from 2015.

Hamilton lined up in second place, 0.277s short of his team-mate’s best, while Daniel Ricciardo was third for Red Bull Racing as the session hit the 40-minute mark when all the drivers to hand their first set of tyres back to Pirelli.

The second half of the session was again dominated by Mercedes as Rosberg and Hamilton switched over to the supersoft Pirellis. The German laid down a 1:21.584 before Hamilton responded with a hat-trick of fastest sector times for a 1:21.347. The Brit’s time was over six-tenths up on his 2015 pole position time.

Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, although a distant third as he finished 1.6s off the pace. His best time, like those of the Mercs, was set on the supersofts as too was Kimi Raikkonen’s as he finished fourth.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were next in line as the Red Bull team-mates stuck to the soft tyres. They were 2.1s and 2.3s slower respectively than Hamilton  while Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were seventh and eighth.

The McLaren drivers added their names to the list of those getting it a bit wrong on Friday morning as they both had spins along with Vettel and Haas test driver Charles Leclerc.

Meanwhile it was a morning to forget for Jolyon Palmer as he finished slowest of all with just six laps on the board. Renault reported a “little niggle on Jo’s car” which turned out to be an electronic issue.

1  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes 1’21.347 34 laps
2  Nico Rosberg  Mercedes 1’21.584 0.237 34 laps
3  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari 1’22.991 1.644 22 laps
4  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari 1’23.082 1.735 19 laps
5  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull 1’23.174 1.827 28 laps
6  Max Verstappen  Red Bull 1’23.457 2.110 27 laps
7  Fernando Alonso  McLaren 1’23.935 2.588 28 laps
8  Jenson Button  McLaren 1’23.961 2.614 18 laps
9  Romain Grosjean  Haas 1’24.013 2.666 22 laps
10  Sergio Perez  Force India 1’24.073 2.726 29 laps
11  Nico Hulkenberg  Force India 1’24.120 2.773 29 laps
12  Felipe Massa  Williams 1’24.154 2.807 27 laps
13  Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1’24.370 3.023 33 laps
14  Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso 1’24.579 3.232 27 laps
15  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber 1’24.981 3.634 19 laps
16  Charles Leclerc  Haas 1’25.181 3.834 22 laps
17  Felipe Nasr  Sauber 1’25.256 3.909 18 laps
18  Esteban Ocon  Renault 1’25.260 3.913 28 laps
19  Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso 1’25.324 3.977 16 laps
20  Rio Haryanto  Manor 1’27.012 5.665 23 laps
21  Pascal Wehrlein  Manor 1’27.249 5.902 9 laps
22  Jolyon Palmer  Renault 1’28.560 7.213 6 laps