Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat title rival Max Verstappen to top spot in final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the defending champion Mercedes driver lapping the Hungaroring just 0.088s faster than the Red Bull man. Valtteri Bottas finished third a little over two tenths of a second off his Mercedes team-mate’s pace.
Hamilton was to the fore early on and after top spot had been traded between Ferrarir’s Carlos Sainz and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen in the opening exchanges, the seven-time champion went well clear at the top of the order with a lap of 1:18.587s. He pitted immediately after the attempt, at which point his pit crew removed a pin stuck in his front-right tyre.
Returning to the track Hamilton then lowered the benchmark to 1:18.204 before Verstappen emerged for his first run of the morning and immediately jumped to top spot with a lap of 1:17.510s, almost seven tenths of a second clear of Hamilton.
However, the Dutchman’s stay at the top was brief as Bottas was close behind on track and when the Finn crossed the line he stopped the clock at 1:17.428s.
That was how it stood at the half way mark and following a pause to plan for the qualifying sims, Lando Norris was the first to venture out on new softs. The McLaren driver immediately vaulted from P9 to P3 giving an indication of the improvement to be had.
Bottas then reappeared and improved on his earlier time to set a new target of 1:17.055s, but then the action was halted as Mick Schumacher crashed and the red flags were flown.
The German rookie lost control of the rear of his Haas in Turn 11 and slid
backwards at high-speed. He broadsided the barriers causing substantial damage to the left side of his car.
When the session resumed Verstappen was swiftloy out on track and he moved back to the top spot with a lap of 1:16.914. Hamilton would not be denied, however, and he managed to edge past the Red Bull with a best lap of 1:16.826.
Bottas held onto third ahead of Sainz and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, with Norris sixth ahead of Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for McLaren ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, with Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10 for Aston Martin.
2021 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes1:16.826 20 205.289
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda1:16.914 0.088 13 205.054
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes1:17.055 0.229 15 204.679
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari1:17.497 0.671 20 203.512
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari1:17.520 0.694 16 203.452
6 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes1:17.772 0.946 12 202.792
7 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda1:17.917 1.091 12 202.415
8 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes1:17.942 1.116 15 202.350
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault1:17.992 1.166 15 202.220
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes1:18.050 1.224 16 202.070
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda1:18.115 1.289 17 201.902
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault1:18.174 1.348 15 201.749
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes1:18.235 1.409 15 201.592
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda1:18.461 1.635 25 201.011
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari1:18.683 1.857 21 200.444
16 George Russell Williams/Mercedes1:18.794 1.968 14 200.162
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes1:18.821 1.995 15 200.093
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari1:19.113 2.287 14 199.355
19 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari1:19.406 2.580 15 198.619
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari1:19.933 3.107 16 197.310