Vettel leads rain-soaked Hungarian GP practice

Mark Sutton//Motorsport Images

Vettel leads rain-soaked Hungarian GP practice

Formula 1

Vettel leads rain-soaked Hungarian GP practice


Sebastian Vettel led the way for Ferrari in a very wet second practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, while first session pacesetter Lewis Hamilton was among those who chose not to set a time in the saturated conditions.

Rain pelted the Hungaroring in the two-and-a-half-hour break between Friday practice sessions, soaking the circuit and triggering the deployment of street sweepers to clear the standing water before pit lane opened. Conditions were still poor when the 90-minute session began, and for the first 20 minutes the only driver to venture out of their garage was AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman completed a single installation lap to verify his new power unit control electronics, installed after missing the entire first session with an engine anomaly, before returning to the safety of pit lane.

The low risk of rain for qualifying and the race meant teams were reluctant to commit to the conditions. Sergio Perez was the first of the field to undertake any longer running, taking the full wet tire on a four-lap stint to evaluate the state of the track. Teammate Lance Stroll and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen followed him, but the circuit was extremely slippery, making any extended running futile.

The track fell quiet again as conditions improved, and at half distance Renault teammates Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo broke the silence by sampling the intermediate tire, though neither thought highly enough of it to use it for a timed lap.

The Ferrari teammates left pit lane equipped with full wets, and others were enticed from the safety of their garages to assess conditions when both scarlet cars began setting timed laps. They completed 22 tours between them, with Sebastian Vettel recording 12, a total bettered only by Raikkonen’s 16, though few other drivers crossed the start-finish line more than a handful of times.

Vettel’s fastest time of 1m40.454s seemed sure to be usurped by Valtteri Bottas after the Mercedes driver set a purple middle sector on his first flying lap, but the Finn didn’t make a second attempt, returning to pit lane after five times tours that left him 0.272s behind.

Carlos Sainz was third quickest for McLaren ahead of Racing Point teammates Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez. Pierre Gasly led Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc to complete the top 10.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Lando Norris and Daniil Kvyat in positions 11 to 13 were the slowest drivers to set a time in the treacherous conditions. Both Renault and both Williams drivers, Lewis Hamilton, Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen opted not to set a timed lap.