Much has been made of Red Bull’s chances of winning at the Hungaroring on Sunday, given this circuit lacks straights and has plenty of corners, and the early signs are positive. Daniel Ricciardo delivered a mighty 1m 17.613s on fresh soft rubber to land early bragging rights, but Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel was only 0.079s behind with less than a tenth of a second splitting the top three. With the track temperature up to 52’C and thunderstorms lurking in the skies, the drivers didn’t waste any time getting down to business.
The sister Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for fourth spot, while the early running suggests Mercedes have some work to do. Lewis Hamilton was the leading Silver Arrow in fifth, with Valtteri Bottas one spot and 0.434s behind his team mate.
Renault were best of the rest again, 1.3s off the pace, with Nico Hulkenberg edging team mate Carlos Sainz to seventh. But the session ended on a sour note for Hulkenberg, when the German’s R.S.18 ground to a halt after suffering a suspected power unit failure, and his team will certainly be busy to get his car ready for the day’s second session. Haas, as has been the case in recent races, will surely be the French team’s nearest rivals this weekend, and that proved so in FP1 with Romain Grosjean coming home in ninth ahead of team mate Kevin Magnussen, who made up the top ten.