Hungarian GP FP1 Report: Verstappen Lays Down the Marker to Hamilton as Tsunoda Crashes Out

Published 07/30/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 30, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Florion Goga


Max Verstappen, yet again started his race weekend quite positively, as the Dutchman slotted his Red Bull into P1 during FP1 at the Hungarian GP. What’s interesting though is that the Mercedes F1 team doesn’t seem too far off, unlike in the past.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton showed signs of dominance against Red Bull, especially around the final sector, as the duo secured P2 and P3, with just over 0.15s splitting the top 3.

Behind the two big teams, Ferrari showcased significant superiority to their rivals, McLaren, who are desperately searching for a sweet spot amidst the incoming updates to the car.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Meanwhile, the biggest heartbreak landed on Yuki Tsunoda after the 21-year-old shunted his car into the wall around the entry of turn 4.

How the FP1 session unfolded at Hungarian GP

Most of the drivers rushed onto the track on a set of hard tires. And of course, that wasn’t necessarily surprising, considering the warm conditions that were existing in Budapest, early on Friday.

Red Bull’s Verstappen clocked the fastest lap with a 1:19:025, followed by Bottas, who was over 0.6s adrift of the Dutchman. Behind the duo was Sainz on medium tires, followed by Ocon and the other Red Bull driver, Perez, who was 0.8s away from his teammate.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 30, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during practice REUTERS/Florion Goga

With 35 minutes left on the clock, Bottas returned to the track on a set of soft tires for the qualifying simulation run. The Finn managed to post a lap time of 1:17:616, provisionally making him the leader of the pack. Then followed a lap from Hamilton, who ended up being 0.3s slower than Bottas.

Eventually, Verstappen beat both the Mercedes drivers to go fastest with a 1:17:555.

Spins during the session

15 minutes into the session, Alonso brought out the yellow flags by spinning his Alpine at the end of turn 4. The Spaniard lost his rear due to the tailwind, destroying his hard tires, almost completely. There were bits and pieces flying off the car after running over the kerbs, but didn’t seem very concerning.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Shortly after Alonso’s spin, it was time for Tsunoda to suffer a dramatic spin. The Japanese spun sideways around turn 9, almost shunting his AlphaTauri into the barriers, but managed to keep the car safe in the end.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, his luck didn’t last long, as Tsunoda had another spin around turn 4. Only this time, he couldn’t bring his car under control, as he watched it slide into the wall. What’s more, it looks like his gearbox may have taken some hit during the impact.

Overall, another positive start to a weekend for Red Bull and their lead F1 driver, Verstappen. However, unlike the past, Mercedes aren’t far off either, with less than 0.2s splitting the duo. Hence, can Mercedes unlock the much-needed performance to beat their rivals at the Hungarian Grand Prix?

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Rohit Kumar

1163 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT