Sebastian Vettel Quickest in Friday Practice for Hungarian Grand Prix

Vettel has some ground to make up after his mistake in Germany cost him the championship lead.

CalloAlbanese—CR2

In Friday's free practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time of the day. The German's championship chances do not hinge on a single Grand Prix, as nine remain in the season after Hungary, but every opportunity to close the gap that Vettel allowed Lewis Hamilton to draw with his crash in Germany must be taken. Though the sandbags aren't off yet, Vettel's afternoon practice time would have be adequate to secure him a seventh-place start at last year's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo was quicker in the morning session by a hair, but his improvement between sessions could not match that of either Vettel or his teammate Max Verstappen, who found almost a quarter of a second more than Ricciardo did. Kimi Räikkönen sits fourth, his pace more than two tenths off Vettel's so far, and his margin of improvement 0.063 seconds poorer. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton struggled to find pace, his best time more than seven tenths off that of the leading Ferrari, and his improvement less than any other driver in the top ten. Nevertheless, he was almost three tenths up on his teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Romain Grosjean, whose seat is in jeopardy due to frequent mistakes in the season's first half, monstered teammate Kevin Magnussen by more than eight tenths, the Dane struggling to improve between sessions. Grosjean is easily the fastest of the midfield drivers at present, his closest competition coming from Carlos Sainz, whose best time was more than four tenths adrift, and almost as far from the Frenchman as Hamilton is from the slower Ferrari driver.

A full list of drivers' best times can be found below, along with margins of improvement between sessions.

  1. Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari - 1:16.834, -0.858 from FP1
  2. Max Verstappen/Red Bull - 1:16.908, -0.793 from FP1
  3. Daniel Ricciardo/Red Bull - 1:17.061, -0.552 from FP1
  4. Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari - 1:17.153, -0.795 from FP1
  5. Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes - 1:17.587, -0.449 from FP1
  6. Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes - 1:17.868, -0.602 from FP1
  7. Romain Grosjean/Haas - 1:18.065, -0.910 from FP1
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr./Renault - 1:18.495, -0.633 from FP1
  9. Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:18.518, -0.834 from FP1
  10. Esteban Ocon/Force India - 1:18.761, -1.304 from FP1
  11. Sergio Perez/Force India - 1:18.850, -1.309 from FP1
  12. Fernando Alonso/McLaren - 1:18.857, -0.833 from FP1
  13. Kevin Magnussen/Haas - 1:18.880, -0.307 from FP1
  14. Nico Hülkenberg/Renault - 1:18.913, -0.112 from FP1
  15. Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:18.916, -0.925 from FP1
  16. Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:19.043, -1.654 from FP1
  17. Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:19.137 (no FP1 time)
  18. Lance Stroll/Williams - 1:19.645, -0.367 from FP1
  19. Stoffel Vandoorne/McLaren - 1:19.712, -0.439 from FP1
  20. Sergey Sirotkin/Williams - 1:19.770, -0.537 from FP1
  21. Antonio Giovinazzi/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:20.293 (reserve driver)