Mercedes continued its emphatic start to the delayed 2020 Formula 1 season as it dominated first practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The squad, which took 80 points from a possible 88 in Austria, finished comfortably at the head of the pack in cool and cloudy conditions at the Hungaroing.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton set a time of 1:16.003s on Hard tyres to finish 0.086s clear of Medium-shod team-mate Valtteri Bottas at a venue where he was taken seven wins.
The only other drivers to get within a second of Hamilton’s benchmark were the Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
Perez was 0.527s behind Hamilton, with Stroll 0.964s back, as the RP20s continued to show pace in the early stages of the delayed 2020 campaign.
Both Racing Point drivers used the Soft tyres on their quickest laps.
Ferrari, Red Bull some way adrift
It is only early days for round three but neither Ferrari nor Red Bull troubled the top of the timesheets.
Ferrari finished sixth and seventh on Medium tyres, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Charles Leclerc, 1.235s and 1.401s down on Hamilton respectively.
Red Bull hoped to be more competitive at the Hungaroring but its pace in FP1 suggests that a challenge is a long way off.
Max Verstappen, who at one stage vented his anger at being baulked by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, mustered only eighth on Soft tyres.
Alexander Albon had a lap time deleted for exceeding track limits and later went wide through Turn 4 as he finished only 13th, sandwiched by Haa pair Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
Behind Mercedes, and the Mercedes-inspired Racing Point that has been protested by Renault, came the manufacturer’s outgoing driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo finished the session in fifth spot, albeit over a second behind Hamilton, while team-mate Esteban Ocon classified 10th, splitting McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Elsewhere in the session Robert Kubica ran for Alfa Romeo, in place of Kimi Raikkonen, and finished slowest – via an out-lap spin at Turn 1 – seven-tenths down on Antonio Giovinazzi.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly remained in the garage throughout the session due to a mechanical issue.
Friday’s second practice session is scheduled for 15:00 local time.
|3||S. Perez||Racing Point||1:16.530||0.527||20|
|4||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:16.967||0.964||35|
|8||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:17.435||1.432||28|
|13||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:17.727||1.724||28|
|17||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:18.425||2.422||30|
|19||R. Kubica||Alfa Romeo||1:19.150||3.147||26|
|20||P. Gasly||AlphaTauri||No Time||0|