2014 Hungarian GP Practice Two: Lewis Hamilton retains edge over Nico Rosberg
Four-times Hungaoring winner Hamilton over two tenths quicker than championship leader; Red Bull half a second adrift on single-lap pace but closer on race runs; Hot conditions in Budapest
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 25/07/14 6:13pm
Hungaroring specialist Lewis Hamilton underlined his prowess around the twisty circuit by maintaining his advantage over team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg into Practice Two on Friday.
For the first time since the Canadian GP – another track at which Hamilton habitually excells – the Briton outpaced Rosberg in both Friday sessions, with his advantage around two-tenths of a second in both morning and afternoon.
Chasing a record fifth victory in Hungary on Sunday, and the regaining of the championship momentum heading into the summer break, Hamilton’s fastest P2 time on the soft tyres of 1:24.482 was 0.242s quicker than Rosberg managed.
And although the championship leader undoubtedly lost some lap time on his best lap having to navigate Sebastian Vettel through the final sector, Hamilton’s best effort came on his third timed effort, by which time the soft rubber his W05 was running would have already given up its best performance.
It would therefore appear to be 'advantage Hamilton' at the end of the opening day of running in Budapest, however, the Briton had topped the previous four P2 sessions only to be outqualified by Rosberg on each occasion.
"There were a couple of problems with the brake settings but otherwise it was okay," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. "The tyres don't feel very good here, it was pretty bad, because there was very little grip out there."
In any case, barring the kind of technical failures which befell Hamilton last Saturday at Hockenheim, a first all-Mercedes front-row in four grands prix is looking likely come Saturday after the chasing pack remained a long way adrift on single-lap pace on day one.
While enjoying one of his strongest Fridays of the season relative to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, third-fastest Sebastian Vettel was six-tenths of a second adrift of the leading Mercedes in Practice Two despite expectations that the circuit's lack of straights would negate some of Mercedes' season-long power advantage.
However, while unlikely to muscle in on the front-row, Vettel's long-run times on heavy fuel late in the session were regularly within a handful of tenths of the pair of W05s - although, on a circuit where overtaking is virtually impossible, it is likely to count for little in terms of trying to beat the Mercedes'.
Fernando Alonso was the only other driver to lap within a second of the dominant Mercedes - albeit fractionally - as the Spaniard reclaimed lead Ferrari honours from Kimi Raikkonen, who slipped to sixth. The two F14 Ts were split by McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen, a three-times Budapest podium finisher in Formula Renault 3.5.
Unusually, Ricciardo was nine tenths back on Vettel in seventh place in the second Red Bull, as Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa sandwiched the other McLaren of Jenson Button, whose car underwent a rear suspension set-up change, at the foot of the top ten.
On what is one of the shortest laps on the calendar, the rest of the field were over two seconds slower than Mercedes, although just three tenths covered the Toro Rossos, Force Indias and Lotuses.
With a combination of low-grip track conditions, and sweltering track temperatures, causing drivers problems on the medium tyre in particular, the second session again produced numerous off-track moments and spins with Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi and Massa all involved.
Watch this weekend’s Hungarian GP LIVE ONLY on Sky Sports F1. Extensive coverage from the Hungaroring continues on Saturday with Qualifying from midday.