Hungary FP1: Russell tops rain interrupted session, Perez crashes

Hungary FP1: Russell tops rain interrupted session, Perez crashes

George Russell set the fastest time in a rain-interrupted first practice for the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, while Sergio Perez crashed out in the first few minutes of the session.

Perez clipped the grass at the start of the session at Turn 5, and ended up in the barriers his car not capable of any further running.

The under-pressure Red Bull driver was lucky somehow, as rain hit the Hungaroring soon after his crash, which meant all the drivers were confined to their garages for most of the session, with only ten minutes of wet running possible towards the end.

Six drivers, aside from Perez did not set a time: Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.

In the end Russell set the fastest time, after a useless session to be honest, as the timings were unrepresentative, as we have to wait for FP2 to develop any initial idea about the pecking order and the teams’ relative performances.

Buildup towards FP1

The first race of the pre-summer break double header is upon, and we’re back in Hungary for the 11th round of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

And it seems that we are somehow lucky that, despite the Verstappen’s and Red Bull’s dominance, we still have something to look forward to every race.

And for Hungary, Ricciardo has taken the F1 center stage with his return to active racing with AlphaTauri, replacing Nyck de Vries, and the focus will be on the Australian’s performances with the back markers and compared to his new teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

The Aussie said he is fired up and targeting a future Red Bull role, and while his performance in Budapest this weekend will not decide his future, it will nevertheless be a good indication if he still has it or not.

Another story to look out for is the next episode of the McLaren resurgence, as the Woking squad arrive in Budapest following a great result back home, and while Lando Norris warned they may not be as good this weekend given the twisty and slow nature of the Hungaroring, keep an eye on those Papaya cars who will also be having some updates.

We will also get the first taste of the revised Qualifying format this weekend, where teams are restricted to tyre choices. Hard for Q1, Medium for Q2, and Soft only in Q3.

It is a new experiment where the sport targets less tyre use by the teams. Each driver getting 11 sets instead of 13.

As for the tyre choices Pirelli have gone soft for Budapest with the C3 (Hard), C4 (Medium) and C5 (Soft) compounds available.

The scary thing though for F1 teams is that Red Bull are bringing a major upgrade to their already dominant RB19 this weekend targeting more performance and better cooling in the Hungarian heat.

The RB19 will feature new sidepods, floor, revised brake ducts front and rear, and a new engine cover.

Ferrari have a new front wing specific for the Hungaroring, while Mercedes have a revised rear wing, front wing endplates, and revised front suspension.

Alpine have a track-specific new front wing, while Haas have brought a new floor to the VF-23. Aston Martin have a new engine cover with revised cooling for Hungary.

AlphaTauri have a new nose, new front wing, new floor, and new rear wing as well.

Hungary FP1 Session Highlights

The session started in dry but cloudy conditions, the track temperature 35C, while the ambient temperature was 24C.

Just minutes into the session, the driver under the most pressure, Perez clipped the grass at Turn 5, lost the rear and ended up in the barriers bringing out the Red flag.

The RB19 was irreparable within the session and was hoisted off the track, the Mexican off to an early shower, and losing valuable track time.

Not the start of the weekend Perez needed, especially with the extreme pressure he is under with Ricciardo waiting to pounce on his seat at Red Bull.

Before the drivers were back on track after the Red flag, the rain arrived, and while some drivers ventured out on slicks, the rain increased quickly, with all drivers returning to the pits for Intermediate tyres.

Valtteri Bottas spun at Turn 12 bringing out the Yellow flag, but did not hit anything, and returned to the garage in one piece.

Hamilton ventured out on the track with Intermediate tyres bolted to his W14, but returned after one lap, the conditions not wet enough for Inters, not  dry enough for slicks.

Ocon and Sainz followed suit, but also returned after one out lap. Charles Leclerc then went out and had a look at the conditions.

With less than 30 minutes remaining, the rain intensity increased, with Norris and Oscar Piastri took their MCL60s out for a spin, but the team called them back in quickly, not wishing to take any risks especially with the rain being too much to take risks.

Soon the action resumed, with Bottas going out to the track and setting the first timed lap, while Verstappen followed, but soon the action came to a halt after Sainz spun his Ferrari between Turns 3 and 4, and got stuck on the curbs bringing out the second Red flag.

However a push from the marshals put the Spaniard back on track, and heading back to his garage asking the team to check the car, but from the footage its seemed he had a broken front wing endplate.

The session was resumed with 11 minutes remaining on the clock.

Most drivers set out on track to make use of some wet weather running, with Tsunoda running off at Turn 5 and damaging in front wing end plate.

How they finished

Russell set the fastest lap time of 1:38.795, 0.359s faster than second-placed Piastri in the McLaren.

Lance Stroll was third fastest in the Aston Martin with a 1:40.013, 0.264s faster than Norris who was fourth fastest in the other McLaren.

Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, 1.892s off the pace, with Bottas 0.345s behind him in sixth.

Leclerc was seventh fastest, 2.347s off the pace with Zhou Guanyu 0.221s behind him in eighth.

Logan Sargeant and Nico Hulkenberg were ninth and tenth respectively.

FP1 provisional results