Romain Grosjean set a fastest time of 1:31.173 ten minutes into the morning practice session at the Hungaroring in Budapest, and despite strong challenges from Racing Engineering's Christian Vietoris and Barwa Addax driver Giedo van der Garde, no one had quite enough to topple him from the top of the timesheets before the end of the thirty-minute run.
Fabio Leimer had been first out on track in Hungary as the green lights went on, but the first genuine flying lap of the morning had been set by Davide Valsecchi with 1:34.353, but Grosjean's first serious attempt immediately went faster with 1:31.606.
Dani Clos and Adam Carroll were early contenders to be the best of the rest, coming within 0.154s and 0.414s, but then Grosjean went faster still around ten minutes into the session and it was up to Vietoris to provide the stiffest challenge with a time just 0.068s
Giedo van der Garde stayed out longer than anyone in the first half of the session and got to within 0.172s of Grosjean's latest benchmark, while Jules Bianchi got a good run and popped into fourth place ahead of Clos and Carroll before the mid-session lull as the drivers returned to pit lane for new tyres and setting tweaks.
Although everyone bar van der Garde returned to the track for the last ten minutes, it seemed that the emphasis had changed from lap times to race set-ups and none of the leading top ten drivers improved their times further before the chequered flag came out to bring the session to a close.
Two cars had truncated morning practice: Stefano Coletti stopped on track after a mistake at turn 11 just before the mid-point of the session, while Marcus Ericsson made a mistake and lost control of the iSport car with around seven minutes to go.
Luca Filippi finished in 11th position for Coloni after agreeing to return
for a second race weekend after his outstanding debut for the Italian team at the Nurburging, just ahead of Mikhail Aleshin who is back with Carlin
for the first time since the Catalunya round after Alvaro Parente was ruled out on GT3 duties for McLaren at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Qualifying for the feature race takes place this afternoon following F1 free practice 2. The feature race itself is at 2.40pm on Saturday afternoon after F1 qualifying, and the sprint race is on Sunday morning at 9.35am ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary in the afternoon.
Full times and positions