Lewis Hamilton continued to top the times ahead of his Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg in Friday’s second free practice session for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old Briton, who is seeking to complete a hat-trick of wins and claim a record fifth victory at the Hungaroring to cut into Rosberg’s 14-points lead, clocked a best lap in one minute and 24.482 seconds.
This lifted him 0.238 seconds clear of the German, who seemed at a loss at times as to how he could claw back any of Hamilton’s apparent advantage on one of his favourite circuits.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was third, six-tenths off the pace, in his Red Bull ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who was nine-tenths adrift.
“That was good, but there is no grip out there and I don’t know if it is the tyres or the circuit,” said Hamilton.
“There were one or two things, but nothing major and it was fun. It is like it is for every Friday session.”
Asked to react to reports that Vettel has been linked with a move to Mercedes to replace him when his contract runs out next year, Hamilton said, “I don’t react... Good luck to him!”
Rosberg was also satisfied with his day’s work.
“It’s been a good day,” he said. “It’s always nice to come here — it’s a cool track.”
Asked about Vettel, the 29-year-old German said, “Which year are we talking about? 2016? 2018? I know it’s the ‘silly season’ but this is more than silly!”
Hamilton had taken the initiative from the start of the day, topping the times in Friday morning’s opening free practice with a best lap of 1:25.814 in clear, dry and hot conditions at the Hungaroring, a tight, slow and technical track set in a rural bowl of farmland 25km north of the Hungarian capital.
Track temperatures reached 56 degrees Celsius and the air 27 degrees for the afternoon session in which Kimi Raikkonen hinted he was set to shrug off indifferent form this year on return to one of his favourite circuits; the Finn was third in the morning and sixth in the afternoon.
Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen continued his impressive progress with McLaren by clocking the fifth best time ahead of Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull and rising Finnish star Valtteri Bottas of Williams.
Jenson Button was ninth in the second McLaren and Felipe Massa 10th in the second Williams, having survived a lurid spin during the session.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.
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