Having been fastest in FP1, Red Bull Racing continued that form into the afternoon with Sebastian Vettel again going quickest, though this time by a much smaller margin over team-mate Mark Webber.
Romain Grosjean was third fastest for Lotus, ahead of the Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Behind them the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were sixth and seventh, Kimi Räikkönen was eighth quickest in the second Lotus. Jenson Button was ninth for McLaren and Adrian Sutil rounded out the top-ten for Force India.
Vettel’s time of 1:21.264 was set at the half-hour mark. He was already P1 at that point, having been the quickest man in the opening exchanges on the medium tyre. Having changed to the soft compound he improved by 1.2 seconds, setting his fastest time on his first flying lap with the yellow-banded tyre. Webber slotted into P2 a lap later.
The final hour of Friday practice was dominated by long runs, with drivers conducting race simulations. With track temperatures above 40°C tyre performance fell off quickly and no one threatened to match Vettel’s headline time. The circuit remained slippery and, as had been the case in the morning, many drivers struggled with grip, sliding over the kerbs and into the run-off areas.
Red Bull 1-2 in first Hungarian Grand Prix practice
A hot morning in Hungary saw Sebastian Vettel finish FP1 at the top of the timesheets. The Red Bull Racing driver completed a lap of 1:22.723 in the last half-hour of the session. It left him two-tenths clear of team-mate Mark Webber, who moments earlier had posted a time of 1:22.982.
Behind the Red Bull pair, Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen was third quickest, narrowly ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and team-mate Romain Grosjean. Jenson Button was sixth for McLaren, Adrian Sutil seventh for Force India and Nico Rosberg eighth for Mercedes. Sergio Pérez was ninth in the second McLaren, the last man within a second of the leader, and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams rounded out the top ten.
The session got off to a slow start. With last week’s Silverstone test having been dominated by run programmes designed by Pirelli, this morning was the first opportunity for race drivers to use the new tyres with a set-up of their choosing. But the desire to get out on track was tempered by the prospect of a very green surface. On their installation laps a number of drivers reported it to be very dusty, a fact reinforced during the session by the number of cars that ran wide, with floors and rear bodywork sections being damaged in the process.
With that in mind it was perhaps to be expected that nobody wanted to be responsible for sweeping the track. The duty fell to Rodolfo González, however. The Venezuelan was the only substitute driver on show, standing in for Max Chilton at Marussia and his was the only car to set a time in the first half-hour, with a best lap of 1:37.942.
Shortly after the half-hour mark more cars emerged and the times fell dramatically. Rosberg was the first man under 1m30, after which the leaderboard went into freefall, with Pérez, Räikkönen, Alonso, Grosjean, Button and Webber all taking turns at the top before Vettel went quickest of all with 19 minutes left on the clock.
The session passed off largely without incident, though Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne had a late spin and Kimi Räikkönen toured back to the pits in the final minutes with a slow puncture.