Formula 1

Gasly leads Verstappen and Hamilton in rain-affected session

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Pierre Gasly
Octane Photographic Ltd.

Pierre Gasly narrowly led his teammate Max Verstappen by 0.055 seconds in Formula 1 practice two around the Hungaroring in a session which was limited in running due to rain-falling in Budapest. Championship leader, Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top three, just ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas. Meanwhile, Alex Albon crashed out at the final corner early in the session.

The session began under the threat of rain, forcing most of the drivers to venture out on the medium compound tyres as the teams aimed to make the most of their potentially limited dry running. However, the session’s running was almost immediately drawn to a halt as Alex Albon careered into the barriers at the final corner.

The London-born Thai driver dipped a wheel onto the grass as he turned his Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda into the final corner and duly lost control of the car, before it entered the barriers – bringing out a red flag in the process.

The session’s opening half an hour consisted of a battle between Mercedes AMG Petronas and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Hamilton and Verstappen initially traded times at the top, with the Mercedes-driver able to draw good speed from Pirelli’s hard (C2) compound. However, it was Gasly who ended the session’s early exchanges as the pacesetter, as he went fastest, ahead of teammate Verstappen on the soft (C4) compound.

Bottas then ventured out on the Intermediate tyres for a lap to get a taste of the damp track surface, only to be called back in after a lap due to the circuit not being wet enough to require the Intermediate compound.

Meanwhile, Lando Norris‘ McLaren was stricken by a hydraulic leak, which left the Brit down the order and devoid of much valuable running in the session’s early exchanges. After a small delay Norris headed out onto the circuit once more, with the Brit shod with Intermediate tyres for a solitary exploratory lap.

He was followed shortly after by McLaren F1 teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. as well as the sole remaining Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat who both chose to complete their own exploratory laps.

It was the Spaniard who then broke the dry tyres duct as his MCL34 was sent out onto the circuit with medium compound tyres (C3). Sainz Jr. then reported over the radio that the rain was worsening before sliding wide into turn twelve to bring to his run to an end – as silence befell the Hungaroring once more.

As rain continued to fall in Budapest drivers finally began taking to the circuit in vast numbers as the track entered fully Intermediate conditions. However, due to the conditions, the session’s early times were left as the best of the second Practice session.

Behind the leading quartet of Red Bull’s and Mercedes’, Daniel Ricciardo took best of the rest honours for Renault F1 Team, as the former Hungarian Grand Prix winner shone. Kimi Räikkönen also performed well for Alfa Romeo Racing to complete the top six, just ahead of his Scuderia Ferrari replacement Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque’s lowly position marked a lowkey opening day for Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel down in the relative anonymity of thirteenth.

Nico Hülkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi followed their aforementioned teammates in close proximity in eighth and ninth respectively, as Renault and Alfa Romeo both aimed to bounce back from their respective non-scores in Hockenheim in style.

Daniil Kvyat continued his form which saw him return to the podium last weekend as he rounded out the top ten for Toro Rosso, just ahead of the Rich Energy Haas F1 Team pair, who were locked together on the timesheets in eleventh and twelfth respectively – as Romain Grosjean led Kevin Magnussen as the Frenchman continued to use the Australia package.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the lead McLaren in fourteenth, as the Woking-based squad suffered a quiet Practice two around the Hungaroring. This was compounded as Lando Norris was left to reside down in eighteenth, due to his hydraulic fault causing him to miss the bulk of the dry running.

The SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team were locked together in fifteenth and sixteenth, as a number of lock-ups into turn one hampered the dry running of the pair; as Sergio Pérez led his teammate Lance Stroll. Formula 2 champion George Russell was a promising seventeenth for ROKit Williams Racing only 2.035s seconds away from the benchmark pace. His teammate Robert Kubica was nineteenth, ahead of only Alex Albon who never got running following his incident.

Hungary Free Practice two times

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