Formula One: Lewis Hamilton fastest for McLaren in Hungary practice

Formula One practice Hungary Lewis Hamilton. LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC
Lewis Hamilton posted a time of 1 minute, 21.018 seconds in Hungarian Grand Prix practice on Friday.

By ADAM COOPER on 7/29/2011

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Formula One looks set for another close race in Hungary this weekend after McLaren and Ferrari topped the times during Friday's practice sessions.

Last year, Red Bull Racing dominated qualifying in Budapest, but first impressions this weekend indicate that the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix could produce a quiet different result.

Lewis Hamilton topped both sessions for McLaren-Mercedes, beating Fernando Alonso by 0.241 second in the faster afternoon practice session. Teammate Jenson Button was third in that session, emphasizing that McLaren has found some pace here.

Mark Webber was the fastest Red Bull Racing driver in fourth, despite losing time with a crash in the first session.

The 2010 Budapest winner ran wide and spun into the barrier on the opposite side of the track, ripping the front wing off of the car. He missed the remainder of the session but said he and his crew are still up to speed.

"My mistake, I got on the damp kerb," said Webber. "In fact, on the Astroturf, we've seen a few of those the last few years. Drivers still don't learn. They still go out there and try and push. So I clipped the Astroturf and hit the barrier, but fortunately only the front wing was damaged.

"We recovered pretty well this afternoon, got a lot of mileage in; the car ran well. Obviously it's a pretty tricky venue for tires, and there's lot of information to go through."

Webber said he was not surprised to see McLaren and Ferrari ahead of Red Bull at the end of the day.

"They're certainly performing pretty well, as they have done in the last few events," he commented. "It's no big surprise that they're doing decent lap times. It's a race between all of us."

World champion Sebastian Vettel was second quickest in the morning but only fifth in the afternoon, while Felipe Massa was sixth in both sessions for Ferrari.

Behind the top three teams it was very much two-by-two. Mercedes GP led the chase, with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher taking seventh and eighth, respectively, in both sessions. Force India was the fifth-best team, as Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil finished in ninth and 10th, ahead of the Sauber-Ferraris of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez 11th and 12th.

Bruno Senna had his first outing of the year in the first practice session, replacing Nick Heidfeld at Renault. He finished the session in 15th before handing the car back to the German.

PRACTICE TIMES

1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1 minute 21.018 seconds, 29 laps

2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:21.259, +0.241, 40

3. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:21.322, +0.304, 34

4. Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing-Renault, 1:21.508, +0.490, 35

5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing-Renault, 1:21.549, +0.531, 31

6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:22.099, +1.081, 40

7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:22.121, +1.103, 36

8. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, 1:22.440, +1.422, 36

9. Paul Di Resta, Force India-Mercedes, 1:22.835, +1.817, 40

10. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:22.981, +1.963, 37

11. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari, 1:23.030, +2.012, 34

12. Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari, 1:23.399, +2.381, 37

13. Rubens Barrichello, Williams-Cosworth, 1:23.679, +2.661, 34

14. Nick Heidfeld, Renault, 1:23.861, +2.843, 28

15. Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Cosworth, 1:24.181, +3.163, 39

16. Jaime Alguersuari, Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:24.182, +3.164 26

17. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:24.546, +3.528, 21

18. Sébastien Buemi, Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:24.878, +3.860, 35

19. Jarno Trulli, Lotus-Renault, 1:24.994, +3.976, 38

20. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus-Renault, 1:25.447, +4.429, 39

21. Timo Glock, Virgin-Cosworth, 1:26.823, +5.805, 33

22. Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin-Cosworth, 1:27.261, +6.243, 28

23. Daniel Ricciardo, HRT-Cosworth, 1:27.730, +6.712, 31

24. Tonio Liuzzi, HRT-Cosworth, 1:28.255, +7.237, 25

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