Nicholas Latifi took a shock top spot in a soaking-wet final practice session at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Latifi took the unlikely accolade with his final lap of the hour, when the previously saturated track was at its driest after a long break from the rain.
Running had been suspended for a little over five minutes to clear Sebastian Vettel’s crashed Aston Martin from the barriers at Turn 10 after aquaplaning on entry, sending his rear-right corner into the wall.
When the session resumed, the entire field took to the track on intermediate rubber, but Williams timed its runs best, with Latifi and teammate Alex Albon among the last to cross the line.
The Canadian’s time of 1m 41.480s was 0.661s quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and 0.901s faster than Albon in a highly unusual top three.
Heavy rain in the morning and late afternoon defined final practice, and though it eased considerably in time for the start of the hour, track temperature remained stubbornly at around 80 degrees F, making the pursuit of grip a real challenge for drivers.
Several drivers complained about a lack of traction, including Max Verstappen, who fumed that he had “zero f****** grip on these s*** tires”. He’d opted to stay garaged until less than 20 minutes remained in the hour but nonetheless ended fourth, albeit 1.7s off Latifi’s pace and more than a second slower than Leclerc.
George Russell capitalized on the relatively dry conditions late to finish fifth after a horrid session for Mercedes. The German marque’s season-long troubles getting temperature into the W13’s tires bit hard during practice, with Russell running wide off track several times, to leave the team hoping for calmer conditions for qualifying.
Fernando Alonso was sixth after saving a monster snap exiting Turn 3, his Alpine two second off the pace.
Carlos Sainz followed ahead of Lando Norris and the crashed Vettel, while Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10 for Haas.
Lewis Hamilton struggled to 11th ahead of Mick Schumacher and Esteban Ocon, while Daniel Ricciardo complained of “absolutely no grip” on his way to 14th ahead of Lance Stroll.
Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu led Yuki Tsunoda in 16th and 17th ahead of their respective teammates, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly.
Sergio Perez, who didn’t take to the track until almost 40 minutes into the hour, ended last and almost seven seconds off the pace.