Hamilton expects F1 Hungarian GP qualifying to be "a lot closer" despite practice pace

Lewis Hamilton has downplayed Mercedes' Friday advantage in Hungary, saying he expects the rest of the Formula 1 field to draw "a lot closer" come qualifying

Hamilton expects F1 Hungarian GP qualifying to be "a lot closer" despite practice pace

Hamilton dominated proceedings in the only dry running of the day in first practice, setting the fastest time of the session on the hard compound tyre.

He edged out Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.086 seconds despite the Finn lapping on the faster medium tyre, while the Racing Point cars of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll set their times on softs in third and fourth.

Red Bull had been talked up as Mercedes' primary rival in Hungary, only for Max Verstappen to finish 1.4 seconds off the pace in eighth place, with team-mate Alexander Albon down in 13th.

Hamilton opted against posting a lap time in a wet FP2 as Sebastian Vettel headed the field for Ferrari.

Hamilton moved to play down Mercedes' pace advantage after Friday, though, saying it was hard to read into what each team was doing in their FP1 programmes.

"I don't take too much from it," Hamilton said.

"Everyone is doing something different, a different programme out there in terms of wing and fuel and engine and all these kind of things.

"We got through what we needed to get through. It was going OK.

"I think it's going to be a lot closer when we get to P3 and qualifying, but yeah, the car, there was some work to do to it, so we did some work.

"Then it rained, and we won't know until we get another dry session."

The forecast for Saturday suggests FP3 could be affected by rain, with the possibility of showers extending into qualifying.

Hamilton produced a stunning performance to take pole in the wet in Austria last weekend by over 1.2s, with some already describing it as one of the greatest qualifying laps in F1 history.

But Hamilton doubted he would be able to produce a similar display should the rain return for Saturday's qualifying, saying the Hungaroring was far trickier to drive in the damp compared to the Red Bull Ring.

"No car is perfect, and no driver is perfect - what we do is just try to continue to build on that solid foundation that we have," Hamilton said.

"It is a great car, but we still are learning about it.

"We're still trying to understand the small nuances and the changes we can make to just continue to build.

"It was great in the rain in Austria. It's a little bit different here, it's higher downforce, but the track seems to be a lot slipperier.

"If it is a wet qualifying, it's not going to be like last week. However, who knows? Maybe I'll do a decent job again. We'll see."

shares
comments
The prediction that should enthrall and gall Mercedes' rivals
Previous article

The prediction that should enthrall and gall Mercedes' rivals

Next article

Verstappen: Red Bull "has a lot of work to do" after tough Hungarian GP Friday

Verstappen: Red Bull "has a lot of work to do" after tough Hungarian GP Friday
Load comments
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021