F1 Hungaroring FP1 Results & Report: Hamilton Lead First Session, Vettel & Alonso Follow

What Happens When Last Week Translates to This Week

5:43am EST — Lewis Hamilton (1:23.350) was fastest for the first practice session of the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, riding a bit of a high after winning the German Grand Prix less than a week before. He led Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, and teammate Jenson Button as the fastest five on a slightly cool and damp Hungaroring circuit. The two instances of drama in the session involved two of those top five drivers, as Webber hit a damp patch of faux grass and smashed his front wing into the barrier at Turn 9, ending his session seventeen minutes early. Hamilton had his own bit of race simulation as he came upon a slower Jaime Alguersuari when both were on a fast lap. Neither lifted, forcing the two drivers into a bit of racing through the chicane and out of the final corner.

Daniel Ricciardo led a bit of a train onto the circuit as the ninety minute start, one that included Bruno Senna in for Nick Heidfeld for this first practice session of the weekend. They all began the session under cloudy skies, as half the fields was out and lapping just two minutes into the session. No times had been set five minutes in, but only Webber and the McLaren drivers had yet to post an installation lap. They were out of the garages moments later. Despite the early installation laps, no times were yet set ten minutes into the session, with only D’Ambrosio, Senna, and Massa actually on the track at that time.

There were still no timed laps five minutes later. Hulkenberg (1:31.073, in for Sutil for the session) was the first to set a time, nearly twenty minutes into the session. He, as would be expected, quickly bettered his time by four tenths. Two laps later, the German’s lap was 1:28.286 as the track remained slightly damp in the humid conditions. Buemi soon joined Hulkenberg on the timesheets, nearly nine tenths slower than the Force India.

As the thirty-minute mark approached there was a bit more activity on the track though still not many times. Ferrari tweeted, “Fernando is back in the garage. Some checks to be made, data to be downloaded and then it will be time for the first proper run.” Button’s (1:28.748) first lap put him third fastest with an hour of practice remaining. Buemi led Hulkenberg and Button as the only three drivers with times at that point. On his next lap, Button was fastest with a 1:25.697, three tenths quicker than Buemi. Hamilton also slotted into the times, going fourth fastest on his first lap and fastest of all on his second (1:24.284). He led his teammate by seven tenths.

Meanwhile, Massa began his first fast lap, which was quick enough to split the McLarens, just a tenth slower than Hamilton. Alonso’s (1:24.179) first effort was the quickest of the session as more times slowly came trickling in. His second lap was ruined with a wiggle from the rear, having caught the kerb a bit. Webber did the same, about 20 seconds behind him on the track. Alonso bettered his own time to 1:23.642 as Webber’s first lap put him ninth fastest. Massa had also improved to go a half second slower than his teammate and quicker than Hamilton, but Webber’s next lap was quick enough to split the Ferraris. He was just two hundredths off Alonso’s pace.

Alonso still led at the halfway point of the session, with Webber, Massa, Hamilton, Button, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Rosberg, di Resta, and Perez the fastest ten. Glock, D’Ambrosio, Kovalainen, and Trulli had yet to set times. Webber continued to look faster than Alonso but was pushing and testing the limits of his Red Bull, locking up multiple times. Teammate Vettel was soon third fastest while the rest of the top six were in the garage. However, his next lap was a flyer, matching Alonso’s combined first two sectors and gaining a tiny bit to go just less than eight hundredths faster than the Spaniard.

Vettel ducked into the pits for a moment but was quickly back out, joining Buemi, Kovalainen, Glock, Trulli, and Ricciardo on track with thirty-five minutes to go. Meanwhile, Alguersuari was explaining to Toro Rosso in the garage that he was losing grip on the green track. Vettel was looking to improve his time with a fastest of all first sector, only to run wide out of Turn 5 and cut the chicane.

Vettel still led with a half hour remaining as much of the field was beginning to head back out onto the track. Alonso, Webber, Massa, Hamilton, Schumacher, Button, Rosberg, and Perez were the top ten at that point, with only D’Ambrosio lacking a time. Barrichello explained to the team that there was something funny with the rear, as it would roll then hit the ground. Pirelli helpfully informed readers that “All the drivers are still on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre. Nobody has tried the P Zero Red supersoft compound yet.” Ferrari also noted, “Felipe is now ready to run after some changes at the rear of the car.”

In a bit of drama with less than twenty minutes remaining, Webber caught a wheel on the damp, fake grass at Turn 9, turning about and smashing his front wing off on the Armco. He continued around to the garage, with a slightly off angle on his right front wheel. In the distraction, Hamilton (1:23.350) jumped to quickest, two tenths faster than Vettel. The German went for a fast first sector, but backed off in the final two to maintain his personal best lap. Most drivers were back in the garages as the minutes ticked away.

Hamilton still had the fastest time with ten minutes to go, leading Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Button, Massa, Rosberg, Schumacher, Petrov, and Kobayashi the top ten. The top eight were covered by a second. Senna, in for Heidfeld for the session, was eight tenths slower than teammate Petrov. The top five had not changed with five mintues to go, as all but Vettel, the damaged Webber, Hulkenberg, and Senna were circulating around the track. Hamilton was looking to improve his own fastest lap, only losing time to Alguersuari who was on his own quick lap. Hamilton went a bit wide out of the final turn and into the rubber off-line while attempting to pass the Spaniard. On his next lap, Hamilton had a massive lock-up on the right front, going off onto the runoff area. He remained fastest as the session ended.

Final Times for FP1, Hungarian Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:23.350 19
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:23.564 +0.214 24
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:23.642 +0.292 29
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:23.666 +0.316 12
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1:23.772 +0.422 20
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.115 +0.765 25
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:24.250 +0.900 22
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:24.369 +1.019 20
9. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:24.620 +1.270 24
10. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:25.093 +1.743 22
11. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:25.113 +1.763 21
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1:25.336 +1.986 22
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:25.357 +2.007 17
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:25.836 +2.486 24
15. Bruno Senna Renault 1:25.855 +2.505 25
16. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:25.890 +2.540 28
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:26.099 +2.749 36
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:26.124 +2.774 25
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:26.878 +3.528 26
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:27.352 +4.002 21
21. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:28.533 +5.183 30
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:28.903 +5.553 22
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:29.059 +5.709 24
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1:29.904 +6.554 26

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