1st Free Practice
Hungaroring has a reputation for being incredibly dusty and dirty as it sits in a huge heat bowl with not much racing through the year. The ultra low grip nature of the circuit can, during first practice, give a somewhat false impression of the comparative pace of the field; however when both Red Bull’s registered laps entire second faster than anyone else, brow’s creased with worry and heads burrowed. It was Sebastian Vettel on top with the fastest lap, just ahead of Mark Webber – the “rest” were headed by Robert Kubica’s Renault. While the Red Bull is simply the best car in the field at the moment, their flexible front wing has recently come under sharper focus as rival squads question its legality. The Red Bull has been running this part all year, but it seems recent developments for the part have given the red and blue car an extra confidence on corner exit not previously seen so far this year.
This morning program was also Felipe Massa’s first time driving at the circuit since his near-fatal accident one year ago – remarkably, the tyres marks from the crash still remain burned into the run off area at turn 4. Yesterday, the Brazilian met up with the marshal’s and safety crew that saved his life to thank them personally, but all this good couldn’t help Massa on the time sheets – he was 2 seconds off in his red machine. In fact, neither he nor his Ferrari team mate Fernando Alonso got anywhere near the front in the 90-minute practice, as Alonso was only 0.3 of-a-second faster than Massa
An under pressure Vitaly Petrov spun near session end while exiting the final corner, prompting the Russian to attempt a three-point turn on the driving – probably not the high point of the his racing career; however there are growing rumours that if he does not perform, his career could be short-lived beyond Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes went back to the floor they used pre-Hockenheim, but the German squad were also testing a new rear wing package. At Force India, Paul di Resta once again stepped in for Vitantonio Liuzzi, but missed much of the session due to an administrative error – the team were garage bound due to a tyre mix-up that would also see them fined $5,000. Di Resta tested the old diffuser, while team mate Adrian Sutil lapped the new blown diffuser – a car element that would later be dropped from the car.
2nd Free Practice
Once again a Renault-powered Red Bull topped the timing sheets at the end of second practice (Vettel); however this time Alonso split the pair, albeit 0.5 of-a-second down. Massa set the 4th fastest time, a long way behind the front three runners.
Just behind the leading teams, it is not shaping up to be a good weekend for McLaren of Jenson Button – an inability to negotiate traffic and get sufficient heat in the soft tyres saw the reigning champion down some four-tenths down on McLaren partner, Lewis Hamilton – both of the silver and red cars found themselves a long way off the Red Bull’s.
Toro Rosso had installed new front rear wings onto their machines – it was, in fact their first big aero update of the season; however both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari struggled to get the best out of the upgrades and leaving them mired down in the second-half of the order. Adrian Sutil missed much of the session while his engineers worked feverishly on his floor as they tried to maximise the new diffuser on the Force India; his practice was done early on.
Heikki Kovalainen also got next to no running due to a hydraulic problem on his Lotus, leaving the Finn in last position behind both Hispania cars. Something that is becoming more and more apparent that as the season goes on is that the Hispania cars with their lack of money and updates, are falling further behind the head of the pack.
Both Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov had positive runs during the session, getting a nod ahead of their more experience team mates on high fuel runs.
Hungary, 2nd Free Practice (July 30th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m20.087s
2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m20.584s
3 WEBBER Red Bull 1m20.597s
4 MASSA Ferrari 1m20.986s
5 PETROV Renault 1m21.195s
6 HAMILTON McLaren 1m21.308s
7 KUBICA Renault 1m21.375s
8 HULKENBERG Williams 1m21.623s
9 BUTTON McLaren 1m21.730s
10 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m21.773s
11 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m21.809s
12 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m21.844s
13 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m22.039s
14 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m22.212s
15 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m22.469s
16 SUTIL Force India 1m22.507s
17 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m22.602s
18 LIUZZI Force India 1m23.138s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m24.553s
20 GLOCK Virgin 1m25.376s
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m25.669s
22 SENNA HRT 1m26.745s
23 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m26.798s
24 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m27.705s
Hungary, 1st Free Practice (July 30th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m20.976s
2 WEBBER Red Bull 1m21.106s
3 KUBICA Renault 1m22.072s
4 BUTTON McLaren 1m22.444s
5 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m22.601s
6 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m22.764s
7 ALONSO Ferrari 1m22.772s
8 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m22.777s
9 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m22.792s
10 HULKENBERG Williams 1m22.966s
11 SUTIL Force India 1m23.003s
12 MASSA Ferrari 1m23.007s
13 PETROV Renault 1m23.249s
14 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m23.327s
15 DI RESTA Force India 1m23.520s
16 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m23.780s
17 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m23.868s
18 HAMILTON McLaren 1m24.075s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m25.032s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m25.210s
21 GLOCK Virgin 1m25.990s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m26.686s
23 SENNA HRT 1m26.990s
24 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m28.157s