BUDAPEST, July 29, 2011 (AFP) - In-form Briton Lewis Hamilton topped the times for McLaren in Friday's opening free practice session for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old Englishman, clearly in the mood to compete on the edge, clocked a best time of 1min 23.350secs as he outpaced nearest rival and defending champion German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull by two-tenths of a second.
Two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso wound up third for Ferrari on his 30th birthday, narrowly ahead of Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull. Webber had a major 'off' during the session when he ran wide over a wet patch of run-off area, lost control and hit the barriers. His car suffered a broken front wing and front left wheel puncture.
Hamilton's McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button was fifth fastest, the 2009 champion out-speeding Brazilian Felipe Massa, back on the track where he suffered a life-threatening accident in 2009, in the second Ferrari.
German Nico Rosberg was seventh ahead of his compatriot and Mercedes team-mate seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.
Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Sauber and Russian Vitaly Petrov, who has drawn a vast following of fans to the race, was 10th for Renault. Just as Hamilton was still in a determined and triumphant mood, so Vettel still appeared to be disenchanted and uncharacteristically downbeat.
Asked what happened in Germany, where Hamilton had won and he had missed a podium finish for the first time this year in 10 races, he said: "There's no point trying to find excuses. "But I didn't feel comfortable Friday to Sunday. It was tricky with the conditions, it was very cold, Mark Webber was quicker all weekend and I never really found good balance. "We have understood most of it but now we need to refocus on this race. We want to be on the top again."
Here are the results:
|HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX PRACTICE 1 TIMES (FP1)|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.336||1.986||22|
|13||14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.357||2.007||17|