Daniel Ricciardo quickest again in tight FP2
Hungarian Grand Prix - FP2

Daniel Ricciardo quickest again in tight FP2

After topping first practice, Daniel Ricciardo continued Red Bull's strong start to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend by keeping himself at the top of the timesheets for the afternoon session.

Red Bull is expected to fare well at the Hungaroring -- a circuit less power sensitive than the last four Formula One has visited -- and Friday's pace suggests the team is well-placed to challenge championship contenders Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend. Ricciardo's benchmark time was a 1:18.455, putting him 0.183s clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas finished just 0.018s behind the Ferrari, suggesting there will be a tight fight for pole position come Saturday afternoon.

Lewis Hamilton struggled to hook up a clean lap on the super-soft compound all afternoon, meaning his early banker lap on the soft compound remained his fastest lap by the end of the session. That left him in fifth place, 0.024s behind Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari but still 0.172 faster than Max Verstappen, who also struggled on the supersoft and finished the session 0.496s down on his Red Bull teammate Ricciardo.

Over the long runs, Ricciardo initially looked quickest on the super-soft tyres but the comparisons were cut short after a couple of laps when Jolyon Palmer spun off in the Renault and caused a red flag. The Briton lost the rear of his car on the entry to the final corner, resulting in it tank slapping sideways and slamming into the barriers. It was Palmer's second off-track moment of the day after he ran wide at Turn 4 in FP1 and ripped the front wing off his car.

When the long runs resumed after the stoppage, the two Mercedes drivers switched to the softs making comparisons with Ricciardo difficult. Bottas' times looked good on the yellow-striped compound and in comparison with Vettel, who was also on the softs, he just had the edge. Yet Hamilton again looked out of sorts and set a series of laps several tenths off his teammate before the rear of his car got away from him under braking for Turn 1 on his final lap and he had to take to the run off. Meanwhile, Ricciardo and Verstappen looked consistently quick on their continued runs on the super-softs and did not appear to suffer the same level of tyre degradation as Raikkonen's Ferrari.

Outside the top six, Nico Hulkenberg finished best of the rest, 1.259s off Ricciardo's ultimate pace but 0.101s ahead of Fernando Alonso in the McLaren. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz split the two McLarens as the Honda-powered team appears set to enjoy its most competitive weekend of the year.

Both Mercedes customer teams -- Force India and Williams -- finished outside the top ten but will undoubtedly benefit from their power unit's extra grunt in qualifying mode on Saturday afternoon. However, their absence from the top ten during Friday practice underlines the emphasis on chassis performance over raw power at the Hungaroring and correlates with the improved performance of the McLarens.

After his accident towards the end of the session, Palmer finished 16th, 1.461s off his Renault teammate Hulkenberg. Haas continued to struggle in 17th and 18th and Kevin Magnussen only completed 11 laps after Antonio Giovinazzi crashed his car during the morning practice session.

Sauber was rooted to the bottom of the timesheets after Pascal Wehrlein crashed heavily at Turn 11 on his 17th lap and damaged both sides of his car. He was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks but was quickly cleared by the circuit doctors and allowed to return to the paddock.

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