Hungarian GP: Carlos Sainz sets best time in practice 1 as Mercedes seems behind

Hungarian GP: Carlos Sainz sets best time in practice 1 as Mercedes seems behind

Carlos Sainz continued his solid form to edge out Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in the first practice session at the Hungaroring; Lando Norris fourth for McLaren ahead of both Mercedes cars; Watch the second Hungarian GP practice session live on Sky Sports F1 from 3.45pm on Friday

Last update: 29/07/22 15:46


Carlos Sainz set the tone in the first practice session at the Hungaroring

Carlos Sainz beat Max Verstappen for the fastest time in opening practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix as Ferrari looked to hold an early advantage over Red Bull.

Sainz was engaged in a three-way battle with Red Bull World Championship leader Verstappen and Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc throughout the session, but it was the Spaniard who led the way with a 1:18.750 at the Hungarian Ring.

Lando Norris took fourth place for McLaren, ahead of Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who were separated by the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Daniel Ricciardo’s other McLaren was half a second behind his team-mate in eighth, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10.

Sergio Perez battles allergies in Training One as he faces bout of sneezing on Red Bull team radio

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Sergio Perez battles allergies in Training One as he faces bout of sneezing on Red Bull team radio

Sergio Perez battles allergies in Training One as he faces bout of sneezing on Red Bull team radio

The introduction of a new rear wing appeared to offer Aston Martin some improvement as Sebastian Vettel, who announced on Thursday he would retire at the end of the season, finished one place ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll at the 11th rank.

After Verstappen capitalized on Leclerc’s fall from the lead in the French GP last week to extend his world championship lead to 63 points, Ferrari had little room for error for the remaining 10 races of the season.

The expectation of arriving in Hungary for the last race before the F1 summer break was that the circuit style would suit the Italian team better than Red Bull, and early evidence suggested that could be correct, with Sainz taking first place despite recording his best lap on a set of tires on which he had already attempted a flying lap.

Mick Schumacher is unhappy with Ferrari after one of their cars prevented him from improving his P1 time

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Mick Schumacher is unhappy with Ferrari after one of their cars prevented him from improving his P1 time

Mick Schumacher is unhappy with Ferrari after one of their cars prevented him from improving his P1 time

It was also notable that Sainz once again edged team-mate Leclerc, with the Spaniard looking to have had the advantage last weekend in France but unable to compete for victory due to a grid penalty. for taking new engine parts.

Leclerc promised on Thursday that he was over his disastrous mistake in France, but will no doubt be keen to re-establish his status as the team’s leading driver through the weekend.

Talk to Sky Sports F1 After the session, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner agreed that his team could be withdrawn in Budapest.

Christian Horner predicts Ferraris will have advantage over Red Bulls at Hungaroring, but expects a very close battle

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Christian Horner predicts Ferraris will have advantage over Red Bulls at Hungaroring, but expects a very close battle

Christian Horner predicts Ferraris will have advantage over Red Bulls at Hungaroring, but expects a very close battle

“I think they might have the advantage here, but after the summer break, maybe Spa, Monza could ironically come back to us,” said Horner.

“I think it’s going to come and go but it’s going to be very, very tight.”

Saturday’s forecast influences Mercedes’ approach?

Lewis Hamilton finished seventh in FP1 for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton finished seventh in FP1 for Mercedes

Alongside Ferrari, there had also been speculation that the flowing nature and layout of the Hungaroring might suit Mercedes, who secured a first double podium of the season last weekend in France.

While this was an encouraging result for the Silver Arrows, the reality was that if Leclerc had finished the race and Sainz had not faced a grid penalty, neither Hamilton nor Russell would have made the grandstand.

Ultimately, in Friday’s opening session, it was unclear exactly where Mercedes stood, with both drivers spending a lot of time on hard tyres, while Ferrari and Red Bull prioritized options. flexible faster.

Nicholas Latifi's helmet camera gives us a view of the rider on a lap around the Hungaroring in first practice

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Nicholas Latifi’s helmet camera gives us a view of the rider on a lap around the Hungaroring in first practice

Nicholas Latifi’s helmet camera gives us a view of the rider on a lap around the Hungaroring in first practice

This decision was probably influenced by the fact that rain is expected all day Saturday meaning there is unlikely to be a dry run in practice 3, while qualifying also looks almost some take place in wet conditions.

The only point of the session – around halfway through – when Mercedes tried the soft run, Russell moved up to second and Hamilton fifth, with both drivers less than three-tenths off the pace at this stage, suggesting that they could be closer to their rivals than was the case in France, where the margin was often in the order of a full second.

The forecast, which also indicates the possibility of rain and cooler conditions for Sunday’s race, will no doubt be a factor on all teams’ minds as they prepare for practice two, which is live on Sky Sports F1 from 4pm on Friday.


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