Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the marker on the opening day of running for the Hungarian Grand Prix - the ING Magyar Nagydij - by using Bridgestone's super soft compound Potenza tyre to set the day's fastest lap time at the 4.38...
Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the marker on the opening day of running for the Hungarian Grand Prix - the ING Magyar Nagydij - by using Bridgestone's super soft compound Potenza tyre to set the day's fastest lap time at the 4.38 km Hungaroring circuit near Budapest, for the eleventh round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Hamilton set his time - a 1min 20.554secs - in the afternoon 90 minute practice session. He was almost two tenths faster than the next driver, Nelson Piquet (ING Renault F1 Team). Hamilton's team-mate, Heikki Kovalainen, went third fastest in this session.
In the morning, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver Felipe Massa set a time of 1min 20.981secs, using the soft compound to go fastest by almost four tenths from team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Kovalainen went third fastest.
As expected, the Hungaroring proved to be a difficult challenge for drivers due to the slippery and green nature of the circuit which is seldom used during the course of the year. Grip levels varied during the three hours of running today, whilst the weather remained warm and dry, meaning that Bridgestone's extreme wet and wet tyres were not required. Today's fastest lap time was almost four tenths than the best Friday time set last year, a 1min 20.919 secs, set by Fernando Alonso (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes).
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:
"Today was difficult as the circuit conditions were constantly changing. The circuit grip improved through the first session and then further improvements were seen in the afternoon too. As we expected, there was a lot of tyre graining seen and this was worse on the super soft compound. The super soft enabled a slight faster lap time with the track as it was today, although it is too early to draw conclusions on the wear and degradation. For teams it was very difficult to find a balance, but if the track continues to improve tomorrow we should have a better idea of what tyre strategies to expect in Sunday's race."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 1130 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 57 laps
Most laps by a driver: 68 - Button / Heidfeld
Fastest lap: 1min 20.554secs - Hamilton (FP2)
Compounds used: Soft / Super Soft
Qualifying in 2007
Fernando Alonso (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the fastest lap time in qualifying last season, setting a 1min 19.672secs using the soft compound. He was subsequently docked five places, and team-mate Lewis Hamilton was awarded pole for his 1min 19.781secs lap, set using the super soft compound. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team) qualified second and Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) third.