After another win at the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton travels to Hungary where he’s already won five times. Sebastian Vettel is only a point ahead of the British driver and just 23 clear of Valtteri Bottas. However, Friday proved to be a great day for Daniel Ricciardo in his revamped Red Bull.
There was a bit of a surprise in the first practice session as Daniel Ricciardo recorded the fastest time. His Red Bull has had a major aerodynamic update for this weekend and it seemed to work wonders as Ricciardo finished 0.234 seconds faster than second-placed Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton’s weekend in Hungary started with a third placed finish but he was 0.372 seconds behind Ricciardo. The second Red Bull of Max Verstappen filled fourth place, just ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was down in sixth and was 0.7 seconds behind Hamilton.
It was a worrying session for Vettel who was a second behind Ricciardo and was struggling with the set-up of his Ferrari. He was heard to be complaining about the lack of a rear grip and that was illustrated by a spin and going wide on more than one occasion.
Not that Vettel was the only won who found the conditions difficult and had problems with the slippery surface. It was a practice session that the Haas team will want to forget as both Grosjean and Giovinazzi crashed at Turn 11. Giovinazzi had the worst of it as his car hit the wall, damaging the left-hand side, and causing the red flag to be brought out.
Also struggling was Jolyon Palmer in his Renault who smashed the front wing of his car to pieces after losing control at Turn Four. It wasn’t all bad news for Palmer though as he finished 10th fastest. Team bosses will be pleased to see that he was only 0.3 seconds behind team-mate Nico Hulkenburg. The fact that Robert Kubica is testing for Renault next week might indicate it’s a bit too late to save his job. The encouraging signs of revival by McLaren continued with Fernando Alonso finishing 7th and Stoffel Vandoorne 8th.
It was the same result in the second practice session as Daniel Ricciardo again finished fastest. This time he was 0.183 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who had a much better session this time around.
The first practice session had seen Vettel struggle for grip in his Ferrari but this time it was Lewis Hamilton who had those problems. He ended up in fifth place despite being on the fastest super-soft tyres in his Mercedes and was also off the pace when trying his race-fuel laps. More promising for Lewis was the fact that he had been quickest on soft tyres.
Third fastest was Valtteri Bottas 0.2 seconds behind Ricciardo but he was 0.1 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Max Verstappen was back in sixth 0.4 seconds adrift of his team-mate.
Jolyon Palmer had another eventful session, this time he managed to crash his Renault again after losing the rear on entry to the final corner and off he went into the barrier. The session had only just started again after a delay caused by Pascal Wehrlein in his Sauber.
A good day for Daniel Ricciardo then but the big question is whether he can keep that up in the qualifying session on Saturday I’ll be back tomorrow with a report on final practice and qualifying, so till then enjoy your racing.