FP1: Hard-tyred Hamilton blitzes 2019's practice times

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.

#PrayForTheDRSBoard ?#HungarianGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/NbxOqBDaDE

— Formula 1 (@F1) July 17, 2020

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.

We've seen an anomaly on the data of Pierre's PU and we need to carry out physical checks which will take some time #HungarianGP ?? #PoweredByHonda pic.twitter.com/SjOmxVJyd1

— Honda Racing F1 (@HondaRacingF1) July 17, 2020

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.

Friday practice shots from the Hungaroring ? #F1 pic.twitter.com/pSFfy5baEy

— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) July 17, 2020

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.

Now @LewisHamilton goes fastest with a 1m16.003s. That’s quicker than all the free practice times seen here last year. #HungarianGP pic.twitter.com/55slRzzrzy

— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) July 17, 2020

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:16.00337 laps hard
2Valtteri BottasMercedes0.086s37 laps medium
3Sergio PerezRacing Point0.527s20 laps soft
4Lance StrollRacing Point0.964s35 laps soft
5Daniel RicciardoRenault1.197s28 laps medium
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1.235s26 laps medium
7Charles LeclercFerrari1.401s29 laps medium
8Max VerstappenRed Bull1.432s28 laps soft
9Lando NorrisMcLaren1.520s26 laps soft
10Esteban OconRenault1.612s35 laps medium
11Carlos SainzMcLaren1.672s32 laps soft
12Kevin MagnussenHaas1.710s35 laps medium
13Alex AlbonRed Bull1.724s28 laps soft
14Romain GrosjeanHaas1.887s35 laps medium
15Nicholas LatifiWilliams1.966s31 medium
16Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri2.289s35 laps medium
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing2.422s30 laps medium
18George RussellWilliams2.571s29 laps medium
19Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo Racing3.147s26 laps medium
20Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri no lap

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