Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari on top in second practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, leading Max Verstappen’s Red Bull by just 0.074s.
Having been second in the opening practice session, Vettel hit the front as the majority of the field used the ultrasoft tire and posted a 1m16.834s. There were similar signs on Friday afternoon, with Red Bull second and third courtesy of Verstappen and teammate Daniel Ricciardo, although the Australian was a little over 0.2s off the pace.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in both of Friday’s sessions, ahead of the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. However, the defending champions will not be overly concerned by the gap to the front two teams on a circuit expected to suit Red Bull and Ferrari, with decisions to abort their ultrasoft laps leaving Hamilton over three quarters of a second adrift of Vettel and Bottas a second off the fastest time.
Hamilton’s decision to back off came when he made a mistake in the final corner, while the championship leader also had a notable moment at the high-speed Turn 4, catching a big slide and gesturing inside the cockpit that he’d gotten away with what could have been a costly off.
On a tight and twisty Hungaroring circuit, a number of the frontrunners complained about traffic on their long runs, with Vettel getting balked by Carlos Sainz and Ricciardo unhappy to be held up by a Force India late on.
Romain Grosjean matched his FP1 performance with the seventh-fastest time as Haas continued to look strong, ending up just 0.2s off Bottas and over 0.4s ahead of Sainz in eighth. Pierre Gasly gave Toro Rosso reason for encouragement as he finished ninth, with a comfortable margin over Esteban Ocon and then a group of five cars — headed by Sergio Perez — that were covered by just 0.066s.
Marcus Ericsson was close behind that gaggle of cars in 16th place but followed his two spins in FP1 with another at Turn 11, before being told to stop in the pit lane after a pit stop, leading to Sauber being the focus of a stewards’ investigation for an unsafe release.
Aside from Ericsson, Stoffel Vandoorne had an unusual spin at Turn 5 after dipping two wheels on the grass. Vandoorne was returning to the left of the track after the exit of Turn 4 but went too far and immediately swapped ends as he tried to turn in from off the circuit. The McLaren completed a full spin at high speed but Vandoorne managed to stop the car before it hit the barrier.