Charles Leclerc ended Friday as the quickest driver around the Hungaroring as Lando Norris was second fastest ahead of Carlos Sainz Jnr.
Leclerc’s best time of a 1’18.445 was two tenths of a second quicker than Norris, who backed up his promising pace in the earlier session. Sainz was third, just one hundredth of a second behind the McLaren, with Max Verstappen fourth, a quarter of a second away from his championship rival.
With Saturday increasingly likely to be entirely wet, making the most of this second hour of dry running would be crucial for all 20 drivers. The vast majority of them headed out on the medium compound to start the session. Leclerc set the early benchmark with a 1’18.911, six tenths of a second quicker than team mate Sainz.
Verstappen was seven tenths of a second slower that Leclerc after his initial eight-lap run on the mediums, while Lewis Hamilton was dismayed to learn that his best time in the early laps was nearly two seconds off of the pace of Leclerc, also on the medium tyres. Race engineer Peter Bonnington advised him that almost a second of that gap came from the straight-line speed difference.
Alexander Albon brought out the yellow flags in the first sector after locking up his rear wheels under braking for turn one and spinning into the run-off. After a brief delay righting his car due to a false neutral, Albon managed to rejoin the circuit and the yellow flags were rescinded.
Norris stuck a set of soft tyres onto his McLaren and used them to jump into the top spot with a 1’18.662. Although that was soon beaten by Leclerc, who chipped two tenths of a second off Norris’ time, no one else managed to beat it.
Verstappen fell shy of their times on his first flying lap on the softs, moving into fourth place behind Norris and Sainz, despite appearing to exceed track limits on the exit of the final corner.
In the final 20 minutes of the session, teams switched focus to long runs, mainly on the medium tyres. Leclerc was delayed leaving the pits after striking a jack on his way out of the garage. Eventually, Leclerc joined the many others out on track, including team mate Sainz and Verstappen.
Verstappen’s average lap time on his run was a 1’24.0, approximately half a second slower than Sainz’s pace. But with none of the top drivers looking to improve their overall best times, the chequered flag fell with Leclerc fastest of all at the end of Friday’s running.
Norris held onto second place in the McLaren, ahead of Sainz and Verstappen fourth. Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in fifth, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and George Russell’s Mercedes. Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10.
2022 Hungarian Grand Prix second practice result
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