Czech driver on top in free practice
Josef Kral has got his weekend underway in the best way possible, by setting the pace with a lap of 1:29.573 in this morning's free practice session at the Hungaroring while his rivals pitted for fresh tyres, to pip Fabio Leimer and James Calado for the top spot.
With conditions hot and sunny for the first time in a few events, the teams took little time in sending their drivers out to make the most of the tight, technical circuit. With most drivers running wide somewhere as they pushed to find the limits, Lotus GP teammates Esteban Gutiérrez and Calado set the early running.
The Briton was the first man to break the 1.30 barrier, squeezing past Marcus Ericsson and Leimer in the process, and with most of the field returning to the pits it appeared that everyone would have a breather before hitting reset. Kral didn't see the memo, evidently, and stayed out on the now clear circuit to set the best time.
The Czech driver's time was just a tenth off the optimal lap from the combined sectors, and it seemed a lap too far for his rivals to attack: Leimer went closest to finish the session just 0.159 off the pace, and with 16 drivers within a second of the top spot the teams held fire until this afternoon's qualifying session.
Just behind the top three, however, Jolyon Palmer, Giedo van der Garde, Ericsson, Davide Valsecchi, Victor Guerin, Gutiérrez and Stéphane Richelmi will all be hoping to move up a few places on the timesheets to put themselves at the sharp end of the grid for tomorrow's feature race.