After two disappointing races in Britain and Germany, Ferrari set about rebuilding its challenge to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren by posting the fastest two times of the opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Although seasoned observers will know that little can be read into either of Friday's sessions, the 1-2 with Felipe Massa heading team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by three-tenths and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen by four will at least provide a morale boost for the Scuderia.

Having tested with it at Jerez recently, Massa ran Ferrari's new engine cover 'wing' throughout the session, eventually clocking a 1min 20.981secs best to top the timesheets after 19 laps. Raikkonen did not test the latest aero device in Spain and says he plans to introduce himself to it gradually during the weekend.

Kovalainen led McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton by a little over a tenth as the two silver cars lined up third and fourth in an order the showed definite signs of mid-season symmetry. The pair were comfortably ahead of fifth-placed Fernando Alonso, while Timo Glock was the final driver within a second of the pace.

As usual, there was a lull at the start of the 90-minute session with no-one willing to act as a 'sweeper' for the rest of the field on the under-used facility, and Massa's pace was still someway off Hamilton's 2007 'pole' time of 1min 19.781sec. Hungary, of course, was the scene of the pit-lane fracas between the McLaren team-mates, with Alonso losing his 1min 19.674secs best after being adjudged the guilty party. Hamilton posted the fastest time of the weekend - a 1min 19.301secs effort - in Q2.

Behind Glock, Robert Kubica, Nelson Piquet Jr, Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli - the latter despite a spin on the gripless surface - rounded out the top ten as expected of the season's leading runners, with Mark Webber and David Coulthard next up for Red Bull Racing.

Williams was further back than maybe expected, with Nico Rosberg heading Kazuki Nakajima in 16th and 17th, putting them behind Sebastien Bourdais and both Hondas. The Grove team could also have been lower, as the second Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel stopped on track with a mechanical problem after just four laps, dropping the German to the foot of the times.


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