F1 Hungary FP1 & 2 Results and Report: Vettel Takes the Top in Both Sessions; Red Bull Dominant

What Happens When Friday is Vettel Day

9:34am EST — Friday was Sebastian Vettel’s day in Hungary as the German kept Red Bull at the top of the timesheets for both practices.  In the first, he and teammate Mark Webber were a second clear of third fastest Robert Kubica, while Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felip Massa made it Red Bull-Ferrari-Red Bull-Ferrari in the second practice.  Still, Vettel had a half second lead over Alonso, with times set indicating that the Red Bull might be able to take pole or at least a top four starting position on the harder tire compound.  It was not so great for Lewis Hamilton, posting an eighteenth fastest time in the first session and sixth fastest in the second.  Teammate Jenson Button had a reverse day: fourth fastest earlier but ninth in the afternoon session.  He was just faster than Michael Schumacher in FP2, while Schumacher was ninth fastest in the morning practice.  Renault, Williams, and Sauber all looked promising, with Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov quick in the second session; Rubens Barrichello and Pedro de la Rosa were in the mix for a good while in the second practice.

The first practice of the weekend was remarkably uneventful, with both Red Bull drivers leading as soon as they entered the fray a half hour into the session and staying there until the flag.  Vettel may have ended the session fastest, but Webber was only one tenth slower while the rest of the field (starting with Kubica as third fastest) was a second or more back.  It was a session of latecomers, as fourth-fastest Button only ran for a half hour.  Surprisingly, even for a Friday practice, Barrichello was fifth, with de la Rosa sixth, continuing some encouraging development for both Williams and Sauber.  Only McLaren and Force India were running with the blown diffuser, though Force India had only one, used by Sutil, who ended the session eleventh fastest.  Force India reserve driver worked in the first Friday session, but only posted a time fifteenth fastest.  Still, he outpaced McLaren driver Hamilton, who ended the session a strange eighteenth.

Final Times for Practice 1:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:20.976 29
2. Mark Webber 1:21.106 +.130 27
3. Robert Kubica 1:22.072 +1.096 21
4. Jenson Button 1:22.444 +1.468 17
5. Rubens Barrichello 1:22.601 +1.625 25
6. Pedro de la Rosa 1:22.764 +1.788 24
7. Fernando Alonso 1:22.772 +1.796 25
8. Nico Rosberg 1:22.777 +1.801 25
9. Michael Schumacher 1:22.792 +1.816 26
10. Nico Hulkenberg 1:22.966 +1.990 25
11. Adrian Sutil 1:23.003 +2.027 19
12. Felipe Massa 1:23.007 +2.031 26
13. Vitaly Petrov 1:23.249 +2.273 24
14. Kamui Kobayashi 1:23.327 +2.351 23
15. Paul di Resta 1:23.520 +2.544 19
16. Sebastien Buemi 1:23.780 +2.804 22
17. Jaime Alguersuari 1:23.868 +2.892 28
18. Lewis Hamilton 1:24.075 +3.099 15
19. Jarno Trulli 1:25.032 +4.056 22
20. Heikki Kovalainen 1:25.210 +4.234 23
21. Timio Glock 1:25.990 +5.014 21
22. Lucas di Grassi 1:26.686 +5.710 17
23. Bruno Senna 1:26.990 +6.014 34
24. Sakon Yamamoto 1:28.157 +7.181 24

Fifteen minutes into the second, sunny session and Ferrari drivers were the two fastest, with Alonso leading Massa, Button, Hamilton, Kubica, Webber Barrichello, Petrov, Hulkenberg, and Rosberg as the fastest ten drivers.  Alonso was soon displaced by Webber, with Vettel slotting into second and Massa overtaking the Spaniard on the timesheets, as the times dropped down into the 1:20s range.  By one half hour into the ninety-minute session, Vettel was leading and Hulkenberg had jumped to fifth.  Just a few minutes later and Petrov had displaced Hulkenberg, with Hamilton nearly as off the pace as he had been in the first practice, down in ninth despite McLaren using their version of the blown rear wing.

At the halfway point, the Red Bulls still led the Ferraris, with Rosberg regaining his practice pace in fifth.  His teammate Schumacher was languishing down in fifteenth, two seconds off leader Webber’s pace.  Meanwhile, Pedro de la Rosa was having a chat with his team about his use of the throttle whilst on the brake, as they asked why he was doing so.  Turned out it was, according to de la Rosa, a result of the bumpiness of the circuit as his foot was forced into hitting the gas while braking.  Ten minutes later and nearly the entire field was in the garage.  It was still Webber, Vettel, then Alonso, Petrov, Hamilton, Massa, Hulkenberg, de la Rosa, Kubica, and Rosberg as the top ten.  Button was twelfth and Schumacher seventeenth.  Moments later and he was eighth fastest.

At about the half hour mark Alonso pipped Vettel, but the German soon leapfrogged both Alonso and teammate Webber to take the lead, all on softer tires.  Alonso had joined the Red Bull boys in the 1:20s lap time by using the softer tire.  Twenty minutes left and only Petrov, Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Alguersuari, and Glock were lapping the circuit, with most teams making final adjustments in the test session masquerading as practice.  Practice looked quite difficult for the Mercedes powered cars, with Button, Hamilton, and Schumacher all looking forced to add more than usual steering input.  Still, it was an improvement on the first session for Hamilton, who was sixth fastest with fifteen minutes left.  The top four kept trading second through fourth betwixt them, on soft tires.

In about the only complete determination to be made from Friday, Red Bull looked nearly capable of gaining pole on the harder tire compound.  With ten minutes left, all but Alonso, Glock, Yamamoto, and Kovalainen were on-track, Kovalainen stuck in the garage with another hydraulic problem plaguing Lotus.  Many teams were finishing off the session on longer runs, with heavier fuel loads but on the softer tires.  While second fastest Alonso was faster than Webber, barely, Vettel had a half second lead on Alonso, with Massa in fourth another almost four tenths slower than Webber.  The times would remain that way as most of the teams ended the session seemingly simulating the early laps of the race, on heavy fuel and soft tires.

Final Times for Practice 2:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:20.087 33
2. Fernando Alonso 1:20.584 +.497 34
3. Mark Webber 1:20.597 +.510 36
4. Felipe Massa 1:20.986 +.899 33
5. Vitaly Petrov 1:21.195 +1.108 33
6. Lewis Hamtilon 1:21.308 +1.221 30
7. Robert Kubica 1:21.375 +1.288 37
8. Nico Hulkenberg 1:21.623 +1.536 41
9. Jenson Button 1:21.730 +1.643 33
10. Michael Schumacher 1:21.773 +1.686 31
11. Pedro de la Rosa 1:21.809 +1.722 38
12. Rubens Barrichello 1:21.844 +1.757 36
13. Nico Rosberg 1:22.039 +1.952 28
14. Kamui Kobayashi 1:22.212 +2.125 37
15. Jaime Alguersuari 1:22.469 +2.382 43
16. Adrian Sutil 1:22.507 +2.420 22
17. Sebastien Buemi 1:22.602 +2.515 38
18. Tonio Liuzzi 1:23.138 +3.051 36
19. Jarno Trulli 1:24.553 +4.466 37
20. TImo Glock 1:25.376 +5.289 35
21. Lucas di Grassi 1:25.669 +5.582 32
22. Bruno Senna 1:26.745 +6.658 33
23. Sakon Yamamoto 1:26.798 +6.711 32
24. Heikki Kovalainen 1:27.705 +7.618 5

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