Lewis Hamilton topped the opening free practice session for the Hungarian GP, but Sergio Perez grabbed the headlines when his Force India flipped.
It was the first F1 track running since the tragic death of Jules Bianchi on Friday, and all cars were adorned with tributes to the late Marussia racer.
But the sport held its collective breath again as Perez’s car flipped upside-down on the exit of Turn 11 after his rear suspension failed over the kerb, firing him across the track into a sizeable frontal impact with the Armco.
The car bounced sideways along the grass, then the car dug in and flipped over as the right-front wheel tucked under the chassis of the car.
The Mexican walked away from his inverted machine unhurt after declaring himself “OK” on the radio.
Story of the session
Nico Rosberg went for an early run in his Mercedes on a very dusty track, starting out with a 1m29.215s and working down to 1m27.306s.
He then completed a very slow lap – saying “check everything is OK with the settings, a lot of oversteer” after a huge moment at the final corner.
Teammate Hamilton’s first flying lap was fastest, on 1m26.286s, then unleashed a 1m25.291s. An even quicker lap was aborted due to traffic in the final sector, and then encountered a very slow Toro Rosso on his next tour, which prompted an annoyed gesture.
After the first half an hour, when teams are required to give a first set of medium tyres back, Hamilton led the way from Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.
On the second set of new tyres, Raikkonen moved up to second on 1m25.812s, but Rosberg quickly took it back with 1m25.719s.
After the red flag for Perez’s huge crash, Hamilton – who complained his tyres were “graining” – improved to 1m25.141s as Rosberg did likewise to 1m25.250s.
Raikkonen stayed third, despite his front wing failing as he touched the kerb at Turn 12 which punctured his front-left tyre. “I don’t know what happened, I lost a piece of front wing,” he said.
That caused a second red flag to recover the debris.
In a troubled session for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel suffered an engine problem, reporting a “loss of power” exiting Turn 5. He was sixth fastest.
The Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were fourth and fifth, with just 0.017s between them. Carlos Sainz was seventh for Toro Rosso, ahead of Perez.
Williams was evaluating a very elaborate new front wing during this session on Valtteri Bottas’s car, and he was ninth ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Verstappen.
The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were 11th and 12th respectively, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr.
Lotus joined the session late due to late delivery of its tyres, and Pastor Maldonado was only 17th fastest. In the second car, Friday driver Jolyon Palmer only completed a handful of laps and failed to set a time.
Fabio Leimer made his FP1 debut, the former GP2 champion taking the car of Roberto Merhi for the session. He was 19th, a second slower than teammate Will Stevens.
|04||D. Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:26.053||+0.912||20|
|05||D. Kvyat||Red Bull||1:26.070||+0.929||17|
|07||C. Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:26.727||+1.586||25|
|08||S. Perez||Force India||1:26.776||+1.635||14|
|10||M. Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:26.934||+1.793||27|
|13||N. Hulkenberg||Force India||1:27.317||+2.176||11|
|20||J. Palmer||Lotus||no time||0||4|