Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
made it look easy as they once again controlled free practice at the Hungaroring
on Friday afternoon, although Lotus F1's Romain Grosjean
and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso
kept the Red Bull
pair honest and making sure that no one was looking set to run away and hide over the weekend.
Marussia's Max Chilton
had been one of the first drivers to hit the track following the lunch break, after having sat out the morning session in favour of Rodolfo Gonzalez. However, it was Williams' Valtteri Bottas who posted the first flying lap with a time of 1:25.622s that was soon reduced to 1:24.979s by Bottas' team mate Pastor Maldonado.
Ten minutes into the session and the benchmark was down to 1:22.484s after Sebastian Vettel's first flying lap in the Red Bull, a time that stood until the half-hour mark when he improved by over a second to 1:21.264s on the soft option compound Pirelli tyres compared with the medium primes he'd been out on before, both times already significantly faster than he had managed while topping FP1 in the morning.
As the session approached the top of the hour, drivers were increasingly trying out the option tyres and checking to see how long they lasted before the pace dropped off and the graining on the left-front started to become a problem.
Kimi Raikkonen improved his own time in the Lotus to 1:22.011s on his third lap on the soft compound, after being thwarted by traffic his first attempt and then coming up hard on the rear of Jenson Button's McLaren
through the final corner and only narrowing avoiding contact on the second. Even after he finally had a clear run, Raikkonen's time was still over three-quarters off a second from Vettel and his Red Bull
team mate Mark Webber
who dominated the top of the timing screens. Also faster than the Finn after an hour were his own team mate Romain Grosjean, the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso
and Felipe Massa, and the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton
and Nico Rosberg, with Jenson Button
and Force India's Adrian Sutil
rounding out the top ten.
All 22 drivers were out on the track with 15 minutes remaining making the short 2.722-mile track a very crowded place. The drivers were on a mixture of tyres as teams turned to running through their regular Friday evaluation tests rather than attempting to punch out fastest laps for the sake of it. As a result, Webber's times on old mediums were some six seconds off his peak, and the top ten positions remained unchanged to the end of the session.
That's not to say that drivers weren't pushing to find the limits of their cars, tyres and the now that the dust had been cleaned up and the temperatures were approaching those expected for race day. Sutil and Grosjean were certainly holding nothing back, both big lock-ups at turn 2 running wide, but avoiding running off into the grass. Raikkonen was similarly working hard, running wide onto the marbles at turn 11 with less than ten minutes to the chequered flag, but once again he was quickly able to recover and continue with his program. Max Chilton
had a more curious problem when part of the small visor screen on his Marussia became detached, requiring him to hold it in his hand as he returned to pit lane for a service.
But no one had anything to challenge Vettel and Webber at the top of the times, although Grosjean's efforts were good enough to put him only a tenth back from the #2 Red Bull. Alonso and Massa also finished within three tenths of Vettel, before a drop-off back to Hamilton, Rosberg and Raikkonen.
Button managed to finish within a second of Vettel, while Sutil was just outside that mark and was two tenths ahead of his Force India
team mate Paul di Resta who recorded a near-identical time to McLaren's Sergio Perez. Pastor Maldonado
has a good day of it in 13th for Williams
ahead of Sauber's Esteban Guttiérrez and Nico Hülkenberg, while Toro Rosso
were looking disappointingly sluggish in 16th and 17th with Jean Eric-Verge finishing four hundredths of a second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas finished in 18th position, some 2.4s off the fastest lap of the session but still seven tenths clear of Caterham's Charles Pic
who was himself eight tenths faster than his team mate Giedo van der Garde and the two Marussias of Jules Bianchi
and Max Chilton.Full Free Practice 2 times also available.