A change of circuit seems to have done little to disrupt the Formula 1 pecking order, with Mercedes retaining their commanding advantage in first practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday.
As was the case Sunday in Austria, Lewis Hamilton was once again on top, with his best time of 1:16.003 putting him 0.086 seconds clear of teammate Valtteri Bottas. However, the real story was the gap behind them. his weekend.
Despite the Black Arrows setting their times on the hard tyre, third- and fourth-placed Racing Points of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were 0.527s and 0.964s off respectively, suggesting that it will take a miraculous amount of progress for any team to challenge the front runners.
Indeed, the only team given a shot coming into the weekend was Red Bull, but those hopes took a serious hit with Max Verstappen’s team-best effort of 1:17.435 only earning him eighth, although team boss Christian Horner indicated afterwards that they were prioritising the testing of new parts.
As for the rest of the grid, Daniel Ricciardo was a solid P5 with a 1:17.200, 0.233s behind Stroll and 0.038s ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who was himself 0.166s ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc.