Sebastian Vettel puts Ferrari ahead in practice two
Hungarian Grand Prix - FP2

Sebastian Vettel puts Ferrari ahead in practice two

Sebastian Vettel topped the second practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix as Ferrari and Red Bull emerged as the favourites for victory this weekend.

After spinning out of the lead of the German Grand Prix last weekend, Vettel is looking to regain momentum in his title campaign and Hungary could provide the perfect opportunity. Title rival Lewis Hamilton was 0.753s off his best effort in fifth as both Mercedes drivers made mistakes on their hot laps on ultra-soft tyres.

Vettel, meanwhile, hooked up a good lap and held a significant advantage in the first sector over Red Bull's Max Verstappen in second place overall. After losing three tenths in sector one, Verstappen made up over a tenth in both sectors two and three to finish 0.074s off Vettel by the end of his lap.

Daniel Ricciardo set the third fastest time, 0.227s off Vettel after losing over 0.4s to the Ferrari in sector one alone. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest after distinctly average first and second sectors were followed up by the fastest final sector of all. The laps of the top four drivers indicate that Ferrari and Red Bull will be well matched in qualifying, although Ferrari's most powerful engine mode is only likely to increase its sector one advantage on Saturday afternoon.

Mercedes will be looking to make big improvements overnight after both drivers visibly struggled with the balance of their cars. Valtteri Bottas aborted his fast lap on ultra-soft tyres at Turn 12 after losing the rear of his car, but was already down on Vettel's pace in the first two sectors. Hamilton was able to complete his lap, but a loose rear end in the final sector meant he failed to improve on his soft tyre lap earlier in the session. With a clean lap and their fastest engine mode activated, both Mercedes drivers are likely to close some of the gap to Vettel, but Ferrari and Red Bull won't stand still either.

Haas' Romain Grosjean was the best of the rest for the second practice session in a row. His fastest lap was only 0.197s off Bottas' best effort, albeit on the faster ultra-soft tyre, and he was 0.430s clear of Carlos Sainz's Renault in eighth. Pierre Gasly managed to drag his Toro Rosso up to ninth ahead of the two Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

Fernando Alonso set the 12th fastest time in the McLaren and held a comfortable 0.855s margin over teammate Stoffel Vandoorne in 19th. Vandoorne, who is using a replacement chassis this weekend after struggling for performance at recent races, spun on a hot lap after dipping his two left wheels on the grass on the entry to Turn 5. He managed to stop his car before slamming into the barriers, but the mistake brought an end to his hopes of improving on his soft tyre lap from earlier in the session.

Kevin Magnussen was 13th fastest ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who was limited to 23 laps after Renault fitted a replacement energy store for the first 42 minutes of the session. He won't take a penalty this weekend as he is still within his allocation, but the failure in FP1 may lead to a grid drop later in the year if he has to take third energy store.

Brendon Hartley was 15th fastest for Toro Rosso ahead of the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, who appear set for more of a struggle at the Hungaroring than in recent races. Only the two Williams drivers and Vandoorne were slower.

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