Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Nico Rosberg and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen were the two topping the timing screens during the final free practice session ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. In the beginning of the session Rosberg was clear at the top of the times until his advantage was cut by Verstappen with just two thousandths of a second separating the two. Hamilton set out on the circuit in an attempt to make up for the time he lost after crashing out of the second free practice session. The Brit went on to set a lap time of 1:22.441 on his first flying lap of the session. The first driver to beat Hamilton’s time was Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo but soon after topping the times he was knocked down by Rosberg when the German broke into the 1:20 lap times.
It was looking very likely that track limits would bring around issues during the qualifying session later in the day with the FIA taking a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to drivers pushing the boundaries too much at turn four and turn eleven. Rosberg had no problems when he went out to do his lower fuel run during the session, infact he lowered his fastest time to 1:20.261despite losing some time during the final sector of the circuit. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen did a late flying lap which saw him set the fastest final split on his way to setting a lap time of 1:20.263, very close but not quick enough to top the timing screens.
Daniel Riccirdo was unable to improve his times but instead decided to do a race simulation in which he did a twelve lap stint on super soft tyres to see how they would fare on the newly surfaced Hungaroring. He finished the session in third ahead of fourth placed Lewis Hamilton after being unable to get a lap time to top Verstappen or Rosberg. The two Ferraris were looking to be having a quiet weekend with Kimi Raikkonen finishing fifth with teammate Sebastian Vettel finishing behind in sixth. Neither appeared to have the pace to challenge for pole position later in qualifying. McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso was the quickest for the team but finished in seventh place. William’s Valtteri Bottas finished in eighth ahead of Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez who managed to climb his way up to ninth. Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer rounded out the top ten in the final free practice session after putting in a massive amount of effort which helps to boost the morale in the team.
Eleventh on the timing screens went to Williams’ Felipe Massa with the second Renault Sport F1 driver, Kevin Magnussen in twelfth. McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button finished the session in thirteenth followed closely by Hass’ Esteban Gutierrez. Teammate Romain Grosjean was next in fifteenth for the Haas team. Sixteenth went to Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz followed closely home by Nico Hulkenberg for the Sahara Force India team. Eighteenth on the timing screens was the second Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat with Sauber pairing Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson rounding out the top twenty. Finishing off the drivers in the session were Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein in twenty-first and twenty-second.
©Fay Tilley 24th July 2016.