Sainz heads Verstappen in opening Hungarian Grand Prix practice


 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz lay down an early marker as he beat championship leader Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to the fastest time in opening practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard clocked a 1m 18.750s to finish 0.130s clear of Verstappen, having sailed to the top after going fastest of all in the final two sectors, with Leclerc only one tenth of a second further back in third.

McLaren’s Lando Norris left it late to bolt on the soft tyres and vaulted up to fourth, 0.5s off the pace at the Hungaroring, host of F1’s final event before the summer break – with team mate Daniel Ricciardo half a second back in eighth having been the stronger of the two on the mediums.

The leading Mercedes was George Russell in fifth, ahead of Sergio Perez – who was heard sneezing several times in succession on team radio and saying he had “a bit of an allergy around this place”. The Mexican has more pace, though, having set the fastest opening sector before the lap got away from him on the softs.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was seventh, with the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso completing the top 10.

Sebastian Vettel, who on Thursday announced he will retire from F1 at the end of the year, was 11th, a fraction ahead of team mate Lance Stroll, as Aston Martin spent much of the session running the more durable compounds before turning their attention late onto the soft.

Pierre Gasly beat AlphaTauri team mate Yuki Tsunoda to 13th, with Zhou Guanyu taking the old-spec Alfa Romeo to 15th. His team mate Valtteri Bottas has the new floor this weekend, with Zhou getting it for Spa, but he will have to wait to FP2 to test it, as it was reserve driver Robert Kubica who got the first taste, the Pole ending up 19th.

Mick Schumacher will get the Haas update for Spa – and ended FP1 18th, with the Williams of Nicholas Latifi propping up the timesheets.

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