Hungarian GP Practice Two: Sebastian Vettel fastest as Mercedes struggle
Verstappen less than a tenth adrift of Vettel but Hamilton over half a second behind title rival; Qualifying at 2pm on Saturday
Last Updated: 06/12/18 12:44pm
Sebastian Vettel set the pace in Friday practice for the Hungarian GP as title rival Lewis Hamilton and world champions Mercedes struggled.
Hamilton was only fifth quickest - the position he occupied in first practice - behind the two Ferraris and Red Bulls.
After Red Bull topped Practice One, Vettel went fastest in the afternoon with a lap of 1:16.834.
"It's been one of our better Fridays," said Vettel. "It's been solid."
On a track which should suit his Red Bull car, Max Verstappen was less than a tenth of a second behind the chart-topping Ferrari with Daniel Ricciardo third and Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
"The car felt good and being second quickest was a positive start of our weekend," said Verstappen. "We have still some room for improvement, but I expect fierce competition tomorrow during qualifying."
Vettel, who crashed out of Sunday's German GP when leading, also impressed on his long runs at the end of the session.
After chewing through their ultrasoft tyres on their qualifying simulations, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished over half a second behind Vettel with their quickest times set on the soft compound.
"As we expected, the Ferraris and Red Bulls were quick and had a little bit more pace than us," said Hamilton.
"We have some work to do tonight. The tyres are overheating, looking after the rear tyres is the biggest issue."
The unusual tight and twisty Hungaroring layout does not play to the strengths of the world champions' package and both Silver Arrows car were also over half a second adrift in Friday morning's Practice One.
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"Red Bull could hurt Mercedes," observed Sky F1's Paul di Resta. "And that's where Ferrari need to rely on Kimi to get ahead of Red Bull to get back the points that were lost at Hockenheim.
"Mercedes aren't a second behind but the worrying thing is that they couldn't even put the finishing touches on their lap. They are going to have to tune speed out of their car in order to get more grip out of the tyres. But they were already behind Vettel in sector one."
Romain Grosjean was seventh in the 'best of the rest' position behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.
Renault's Carlos Sainz was four tenths slower in eighth, while Fernando Alonso was the highest-placed McLaren driver in 12th.
But team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne struggled again. Despite a change of chassis, the Belgian was only 19th after spinning off.
Saturday's qualifying session starts at 2pm with Sky Sports F1's build-up coverage from 1pm. After a brief rain shower fell during Practice Two, more unsettled weather is forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Hungarian GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:16.834|
|2) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.074|
|3) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 0.227|
|4) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 0.319|
|5) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.753|
|6) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 1.034|
|7) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1.231|
|8) Carlos Sainz||Renault||+ 1.661|
|9) Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+ 1.684|
|10) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 1.927|
|11) Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 2.016|
|12) Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+ 2.023|
|13) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 2.046|
|14) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+ 2.079|
|15) Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+ 2.082|
|16) Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+ 2.209|
|17) Charles Leclerc||Sauber||+ 2.303|
|18) Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 2.811|
|19) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+ 2.878|
|20) Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||+ 2.936|