Lewis Hamilton continued his long love affair with the Hungaroring by posting the fastest times in both Friday practice sessions ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton has become a master of the tight, twisty track, the slowest permanent facility on the Formula One calendar, claiming four poles and four victories in seven attempts.
Another win on Sunday would make the 29-year-old the most successful driver at the circuit of all time. He is currently tied with Michael Schumacher on four wins apiece.
Hamilton could not have asked for too much more of a springboard towards a race win after finishing the day ahead of title rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Quickest in FP1 when the medium-compound Pirelli tyre was used throughout,
Hamilton posted a time of one minute 25.814 seconds, finishing 0.183secs clear of Rosberg. Come FP2 when the drivers were allowed a run on the soft rubber, the quicker of the two choices this weekend,
Hamilton improved to 1:24.482, with Rosberg down by 0.238. The fact they again finished one-two was no surprise as Mercedes have no equal this season, with just two drivers within a second of the pair after the two 90-minute runs. Both were world champions, with outgoing champion Sebastian Vettel 0.629 off the pace in his Red Bull, followed by double title-holder Fernando Alonso for Ferrari, 0.955 adrift. The second session was not without its difficulties for Mercedes, though, as
Hamilton at one stage complained of a loss of braking. That will likely have sounded a few alarm bells on the pit wall in light of
Hamilton’s accident during qualifying last Saturday for the German Grand Prix when he suffered a 30g impact into a tyre wall after a right-front brake disc failure. As for Rosberg, there were engine concerns just over two-thirds of the way through the session, although neither man seemed overly burdened as long runs were eventually undertaken.
There was one comical radio moment late on when Rosberg said: “Some advice please.” “On traffic?” came the reply. “No, on driving!” said Rosberg.
It appeared strange the current leader should ask how to drive his car, but he was told to look at his exit out of turn two in order to gain a better approach into turn three.
Behind the leading quartet was McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, followed by the second Ferrari and Red Bull respectively of Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo, the latter 1.5secs down.
Despite a run of three successive podiums — the first Williams driver to conjure such a feat for 11 years — Valtteri Bottas was only eighth, albeit on a track not expected to suit his car this weekend. McLaren's Jenson Button, 1.752secs back, and Felipe Massa in his Williams completed the top 10, with Marussia's Max Chilton down in 21st and just over four seconds in arrears.