FP2: Gasly heads Red Bull 1-2, as Albon crashes out
Damp and drizzly. That was a fair summary of the conditions drivers faced in second practice at the Hungaroring – and it was Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly who made the best of it, clocking a time of 1m 17.854s to finish just 0.055s ahead of team mate Max Verstappen, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton another 0.086s back.
The leading times were set in the first half hour, after which slick tyres weren’t realistically an option at the Hungaroring. From there on in – with qualifying and the race expected to be dry – there was little for the teams to learn from the mildly moist track surface, hence most kept running to a minimum.
The man to complete the least distance – just two laps – was Alex Albon. One of the stars of last weekend’s rain-hit German Grand Prix, Albon made an early error as he got a wheel on the damp grass at Turn 14 with less than five minutes gone.
That sent his Toro Rosso spinning sideways at speed into the tyre wall, off which it bounced with some vigour, before coming to a rest in a rather sorry-looking state and bringing out the red flags. The Thai driver was unhurt.
Behind the leading trio came the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, the Finn back on track with a new Energy Store and Control Electronics on his power unit after missing most of FP1, the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
Charles Leclerc was the leading Ferrari in P7 – team mate Sebastian Vettel down in 13th – followed by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi. Daniil Kvyat, in the only undamaged Toro Rosso, rounded out the top 10.
So perhaps not the most enthralling of sessions, but one which adds a huge element of uncertainty to the remainder of the weekend. Expect to see a very frantic final practice on Saturday morning, as the teams desperately play catch-up ahead of qualifying!