BUDAPEST: Championship leader Valtteri Bottas topped the times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Saturday (Jul 18) morning’s final free practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Finn clocked a fastest lap in one minute and 15.437 seconds to outpace the Briton by 0.042 as the ‘black arrows’ shone with a one-two on an overcast day at the Hungaroring.
Sergio Perez was third in Racing Point’s controversial ‘pink Mercedes’, one-tenth off the leading pace and three-tenths clear of Charles Leclerc in a much-improved Ferrari.
Lance Stroll was fifth in the second Racing Point ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull, McLaren’s Lando Norris and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari.
Pierre Gasly was ninth for Alpha Tauri with Daniel Ricciardo 10th for Renault.
The session was relatively incident free with just one spin from Verstappen at Turn 12, the Dutchman carrying too much speed into the corner – a rare glimpse into the team’s struggle for balance after they decided to work late on Friday night, breaking the official technical curfew.
Red Bull used one of the two permitted ‘jokers’ to do their additional set-up work, but it did not appear to have delivered improved grip and balance for the drivers.
That meant that the impressive Racing Point team, under investigation following an official protest at the validity and originality of their 2020 cars by Renault, were nearest to catching the supreme Mercedes men.