Championship leader Max Verstappen set the fastest time in sweltering conditions in first practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, ahead of Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. The session was briefly red-flagged for Yuki Tsunoda’s Turn 4 crash with 18 minutes left.

Verstappen, running the Honda engine that sustained the 51G impact in his Lap 1 crash at the British Grand Prix, was fastest out of the gate with hard tyres at the Hungaroring and switched to softs after Tsunoda’s red flag. He set the fastest time of 1m17.555s, clear by just 0.061s.

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Valtteri Bottas was briefly top as the first driver to use soft tyres, but his time was eclipsed by Verstappen’s with 10 minutes remaining and the Finn finished P2. Lewis Hamilton was a tenth off his team mate in third, complaining of understeer early in the session.

Carlos Sainz took P4 for Ferrari with the Scuderia expecting to top the midfield here, wihle team mate Charles Leclerc took P7. Between them was fifth-place AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso – celebrating his 40th birthday this weekend – shrugging off an early Turn 4 spin for P6.

1


Max
Verstappen
VER
Red Bull Racing

1:17.555

2


Valtteri
Bottas
BOT
Mercedes

+0.061s

3


Lewis
Hamilton
HAM
Mercedes

+0.167s

4


Carlos
Sainz
SAI
Ferrari

+0.560s

5


Pierre
Gasly
GAS
AlphaTauri

+0.626s

In the other Red Bull, Sergio Perez finished 0.911s behind Verstappen in P8 ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris who bucked the trend and started running on mediums rather than hards, switching to softs to finish ninth late on. McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo took 14th overall. The MCL35Ms sported flow-vis paint in FP1 to assess the efficacy of McLaren’s new bargeboard and floor updates for Hungary.

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Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished 10th, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Rookie Tsunoda (P12) suffered a Turn 9 spin and compounded that with a Turn 4 off, which saw his session end as he careered rearwards into the barriers to bring out a brief red flag with 18 minutes remaining.

2021 Hungarian GP FP1: Tsunoda crashes into the barriers at Hungaroring

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, wearing a special Pride helmet for this weekend, finished 13th, ahead of Ricciardo (P14). The Williams pair lined up 15th and 16th, George Russell ahead of Nicholas Latifi, while Mick Schumacher took P17 for Haas.

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Alfa Romeo’s stand-in Robert Kubica took over for Kimi Raikkonen in FP1 and finished 18th, behind him Haas’s Nikita Mazepin. Antonio Gionvinazzi was last for Alfa Romeo, having been confined to the garage for much of the session with a technical issue.

A thick swathe of dark clouds is expected to loom over the track on Saturday and Sunday, but before that we have FP2 at 1500 local time. Join us for live coverage and all the reaction in between and beyond the sessions.



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