Hamilton pips Verstappen to tease qualifying showdown

Hungaroring, Budapest

Hungarian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton edged Max Verstappen to top practice three, with Sebastian Vettel completing a close top three.

The third-and-final free practice session whetted the appetite for close qualifying battle between the top three teams, with the fastest five drivers separated by just three tenths of a second.

There was a delay to the start of proceedings after a fluid spill in the support race meant the marshals were forced to coat turns four and five of the track with cement dust, resulting in a ten minute delay to the green light.

With drivers gradually getting rid of the dust over the course of the session, there was sharp track evolution, further enhanced by the overnight rain. This meant that it took some time before any drivers beat the pace from Friday free practice.

In the final moments of the 60-minute session, Hamilton reduced the benchmark to a 1:16.084 to set the fastest time by just 0.013 of a second, with Red Bull’s Verstappen occupying second place.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was also less than one tenth down, but the SF90 appears to be rapid on the higher-power sections of the circuit.

In a remarkable spread of performance amongst the top three teams, Vettel was the fastest in sector one, with Verstappen setting the pace in sector two, and Hamilton having the edge in the final sector.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was a couple of tenths down after his best lap, whilst the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc had to settle for fifth.

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly only narrowly out-paced McLaren’s Lando Norris, who was almost half-a-second faster than the next midfielders.

Kimi Raikkonen placed his Alfa Romeo in eighth, ahead of the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.

To view the full results from the final free practice session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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