F1 Hungarian GP: Sainz leads Verstappen in opening practice

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz was fastest in first free practice for Formula 1's Hungarian Grand Prix, demoting Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the final stages.

F1 Hungarian GP: Sainz leads Verstappen in opening practice

On Friday afternoon most protagonists swiftly joined the action early on, including world champion Verstappen, who normally has a tendency of joining the fray later than most.

Verstappen clocked a 1m21.235s after five minutes of the one-hour session on a toasty Hungaroring, ahead of Ferrari's Sainz and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo.

Times took a fresh tumble in subsequent runs when the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc went top with a 1m20.225s on soft tyres, which was just 0.018s quicker than Verstappen's new personal best on the same compound.

Sainz briefly jumped his team-mate to take the lead after 15 minutes, before Leclerc responded with a 1m19.863s and Verstappen's next lap was just 0.009s shy of Leclerc's time. A subsequent effort of 1m19.426s put more daylight between leading Leclerc and his title rival.

The Red Bulls and Ferraris were the only teams sampling Pirelli's softest tyre compound while other outfits stuck to mediums or hards in the opening stages, as Sergio Perez in fourth put distance on the midfield runners led by Ricciardo.

That picture changed after the traditional mid-session lull when more teams started sampling Pirelli's finest wares.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes' George Russell used the reds to vault to second with a lap just 0.180s down on Leclerc, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton went fifth to put the entire top five within three tenths.

With 20 minutes left on the clock Sainz momentarily grabbed the lead with a 1m19.262s, heralding a new salvo of fast laps. Verstappen came through next with a 1m18.800s lap, courtesy of purple first and third sectors.

Leclerc couldn't match the Dutchman and remained one and a half tenth behind, but Sainz did. The Spaniard, who had been the quickest in sector two throughout, took a tenth out of Verstappen's time to lead with a 1m18.750s.

Behind the trio McLaren's Lando Norris was fourth, setting a promising time of 1m19.299s despite joining the session late.

In the second Red Bull Perez couldn't find a clean lap and remained stuck in sixth, in between Mercedes duo Russell and Hamilton.

The second McLaren of Ricciardo took eighth, while Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10.

Armed with Aston Martin's new rear wing Sebastian Vettel took eleventh in the closing stages ahead of teammate Lance Stroll.

AlphaTauri drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were 13th and 14th respectively.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Zhou Guanyu was 15th fastest for Alfa Romeo, heading the first Williams of Alex Albon.

Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher were down in 17th and 18th as the team tried to understand its first and only upgrade package for 2022.

Robert Kubica, who took over Valtteri Bottas' Alfa Romeo for FP1, was 19th ahead of only Nicholas Latifi in the second Williams.

The 60-minute session lapsed without notable incidents, although Schumacher and Tsunoda were among drivers facing a couple of hairy off-track moments and Stroll suffered a huge floor strike over the track's high kerbs.

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - FP1 results

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari Ferrari 26 1'18.750    
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Red Bull 24 1'18.880 0.130 0.130
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 26 1'19.039 0.289 0.159
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 21 1'19.299 0.549 0.260
5 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes Mercedes 28 1'19.606 0.856 0.307
6 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Red Bull 24 1'19.622 0.872 0.016
7 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 25 1'19.710 0.960 0.088
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 28 1'19.841 1.091 0.131
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 30 1'20.348 1.598 0.507
10 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 27 1'20.377 1.627 0.029
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 26 1'20.383 1.633 0.006
12 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 25 1'20.414 1.664 0.031
13 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Red Bull 28 1'20.456 1.706 0.042
14 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Red Bull 27 1'20.695 1.945 0.239
15 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 23 1'20.810 2.060 0.115
16 Thailand Alex Albon Williams Mercedes 28 1'20.834 2.084 0.024
17 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 24 1'20.921 2.171 0.087
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 25 1'21.027 2.277 0.106
19 Poland Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Ferrari 20 1'21.179 2.429 0.152
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 27 1'21.413 2.663 0.234
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