2013 Hungarian GP Practice Two: Sebastian Vettel still ahead as Red Bull repeat P1 form
Champions continue to look formidable at sweltering Hungaroring
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 27/07/13 2:10pm
Red Bull's bid to consolidate their championship advantages heading into the summer break has got off to the most ominous of starts at the Hungarian GP after Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber maintained the World Champions' stranglehold on the top of the timesheets in Practice Two.
For a team that rarely shows its full hand on the opening day of a grand prix weekend, their double Friday Practice one-two - the first time the team have achieved such a feat since Brazil 2010, a result they went on to repeat in the race - was all the more formidable and has already served to underline the stern challenge ahead for their title rivals this weekend.
Points leader Vettel, aiming for a first ever win at the Hungaroring come Sunday, had been the first frontrunner to take to the faster soft tyres in continued searing heat in Budapest and his 1:21.264 lap ended up all of 0.044s quicker than team-mate Webber managed slightly later on.
The good news for hopes of anything but a Red Bull-walkover though was that the chasing pack, led by Lotus and Ferrari, were within 0.2s of the two flying RB9s with both teams as expected looking well suited to the 40-degree-plus track temperatures.
Romain Grosjean took third in the lead Lotus with the Frenchman's quickest soft-tyre lap unusually coming on his second timed effort, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa fourth and fifth respectively as the F138 looked more competitive than recently over a single lap.
After focusing on tyre evaluations across longer runs in the morning, Mercedes joined their usual rivals in the 1:21s come P2 but Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's deficit to the Red Bulls was in excess of half a second with the W04 steadily losing pace as the tight and twisty 4.4km lap progressed.
"Red Bull will take some beating this weekend," summarised Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle from trackside. "Ferrari have got a traction issue, and the Mercedes still looks as if it is leaning on its rear tyres just a little bit too much."
Indeed, despite emerging as F1's new qualifying kings since the early weeks of the season, Rosberg suggested Mercedes wouldn't be in the hunt for pole this time round.
"The main challengers are surely Red Bull - it's them who are going to be going for pole. I don't think we have the speed this weekend," said a downcast Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen, many people's pre-weekend tip for victory, finished down in eighth after failing to set a truly representative lap on the soft tyres after encountering the back of Jenson Button's McLaren in the final sector of both his first two timed laps on the compound.
Having backed out of the lap first time round, Raikkonen continued running right on into the MP4-28's dirty air when he caught the MP4-28 again and this time nearly lost his front wing against the side of the McLaren when he took an ill-advised dive up the inside of Button into the final corner.
In any case, the Finn had been several tenths adrift of Vettel in the first two sectors of both of those laps.
Button himself finished within a second of the front in ninth place with McLaren at least looking on a par with Constructors' Championship rivals Force India, whose drivers Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta, who struggled for balance throughout Friday, tenth and 11th respectively.