Pierre Gasly was fastest in the second practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix as rain prevented teams from doing any long running on slick tires.
Light drops of rain were falling from the start of the session but not enough to prevent dry tire running, although a crash instantly interrupted the action. The session was red flagged after just three minutes when Alexander Albon went off at the end of his second lap.
The Toro Rosso driver dipped a wheel on the grass on the outside of the track just as he was turning in at the final corner, losing control and sliding sideways into the barrier. The damage to the car was significant but the marshals did a good job to clear it and get the session restarted within six minutes.
That incident came with light rain falling and the early laps proved decisive in terms of the overall standings, with Gasly registering a 1m17.854s on soft tires to set the pace as part of a Red Bull 1-2. Max Verstappen was just 0.055s slower than his teammate with his best time coming on the medium tires, while Lewis Hamilton in third — 0.141s off Gasly — was on the hard compound.
Valtteri Bottas recovered from a lack of running in FP1 — due to a power unit change after he reported a misfire — to set the fourth-fastest time but was hampered by the conditions more than most as very little of his track time was spent on slicks. Daniel Ricciardo was fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen — both on softs — while Charles Leclerc in seventh was on the mediums and just under a second off Gasly.
Nico Hulkenberg, Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10, in a session that was largely irrelevant in terms of lap times but also meant teams do not have long-run data in the dry to rely on for Sunday’s race at this stage.
The rain intensified to interrupt running on Friday afternoon, with teams unsure of which tire to use. The track was not wet enough for intermediates but risky to use slicks during a practice session, and in a sign of how marginal it was, Raikkonen went out on intermediates just a matter of seconds after Sergio Perez hit the track on softs.
Eventually the track became fully wet to allow intermediate running that was some 20 seconds off the pace, but did at least generate an increase in action for the crowd.
Carlos Sainz had an off-track moment on the intermediate tire as he tried to gauge conditions, with McLaren also changing his power unit for his race unit ahead of FP2 after a water pressure issue earlier on Friday. Sainz ended up 14th, one place behind Sebastian Vettel who used the hard tire for his quickest lap.
It wasn’t a smooth session for McLaren even with the conditions, as Lando Norris suffered a suspected hydraulic problem and only completed six laps.