Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2021

Verstappen leads Mercedes pair in first practice, Tsunoda crashes

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen began the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend on top of the times, pipping Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas by six-hundredths of a second.

The Red Bull driver’s championship rival Lewis Hamilton set the third-fastest time, just over a tenth of a second behind the Red Bull.

The session was interrupted by a crash for Yuki Tsunoda at turn five. The AlphaTauri suffered light damage after Tsunoda spun backwards into the barrier in the last 20 minutes. Tsunoda was able to exit the car and return to the pits and session resumed with 15 minutes remaining.

Verstappen had taken an early lead after the first hard tyre runs but was pushed down the order when Mercedes switched to softs, at which point Bottas took over the lead.

Hamilton complained of steering problems in the first half of the session, and asked for a considerable increase in front wing angle. The adjustment seemed to help, as he immediately came within a tenth-and-a-half of Bottas’ time.

Verstappen set his soft tyre run later in the session when the track was much hotter. Surface temperatures rose from a very warm 53C at the start of first practice to a scorching 61C at the end. The Red Bull driver was only able to beat Bottas’ earlier time by 0.061 seconds.

Alpine ran different programmes with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, the latter’s car fitted with an aero rake during his early runs. Alonso ended the session sixth-fastest, Ocon 11th, fourth tenths off his team mate.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth tenths slower than team mate Lando Norris, and both McLaren drivers ended the session behind key rivals Ferrari. Carlos Sainz Jnr set the fourth-fastest time of the session, having spent most of the hour in the top three, half a second faster than the quickest McLaren.

Robert Kubica, who drove Kimi Raikkonen’s car in first practice, was 18th fastest, splitting the Haas cars and ahead of Nikita Mazepin.

A power unit problem confined Antonio Giovinazzi to just five laps on hard tyres at the start of the hour. He ended the session at the bottom of the times.

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2021 Hungarian Grand Prix first practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’17.55521
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’17.6160.06126
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’17.7220.16725
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’18.1150.56024
510Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.1810.62627
614Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’18.3850.83026
716Charles LeclercFerrari1’18.3910.83623
811Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’18.4660.91120
94Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’18.6491.09426
1018Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’18.7551.20025
1131Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’18.7651.21026
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.7701.21518
135Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’18.9891.43422
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’19.2651.71027
1563George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’19.7242.16924
166Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’19.8242.26924
1747Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’20.3832.82826
1888Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.6393.08423
199Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’20.9923.43723
2099Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.8894.3345

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’17.555

+0.061 Valtteri Bottas – 1’17.616

+0.167 Lewis Hamilton – 1’17.722

+0.560 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’18.115

+0.626 Pierre Gasly – 1’18.181

+0.830 Fernando Alonso – 1’18.385

+0.836 Charles Leclerc – 1’18.391

+0.911 Sergio Perez – 1’18.466

+1.094 Lando Norris – 1’18.649

+1.200 Lance Stroll – 1’18.755

+1.210 Esteban Ocon – 1’18.765

+1.215 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’18.770

+1.434 Sebastian Vettel – 1’18.989

+1.710 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.265

+2.169 George Russell – 1’19.724

+2.269 Nicholas Latifi – 1’19.824

+2.828 Mick Schumacher – 1’20.383

+3.084 Robert Kubica – 1’20.639

+3.437 Nikita Mazepin – 1’20.992

+4.334 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’21.889

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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30 comments on “Verstappen leads Mercedes pair in first practice, Tsunoda crashes”

  1. The title to this article could have been used for half the practice sessions this year.

  2. DarkSchneider
    30th July 2021, 11:41

    Is Tsunoda a fan of Katayama ? =^^=

    1. @DarkSchneider, I see what you mean after checking Ukyo Katayama’s F1 results and noting he mostly had DNFs.

    2. I remembered katayama, and that he was famous for this.

    3. Jockey Ewing
      30th July 2021, 15:37

      Yeah Katayama took regular visits to the gravel. I still consider Yuki better than Katayama, but he spun quite a lot by now, while IIRC Katayama was a driver for backmarker teams (imo weaker ones than the current AT), and that meant many technical DNF’s at that time by itself. Although I really vividly remember him often going into the gravel. But of course there were much more gravel traps by that time, and if currently we would have the same amount then more drivers would land in the gravel occasionally.

  3. Come on, Yuki. Another crash? How much money is this kid costing Alpha Tauri?

    Reply moderated
  4. Welcome back, it’s business as usual for the Best Driver. No distraction and it’s obvious he is over-delivering while the team mate with same car was nowhere to be seen

    1. I completely agree Norris is doing great as usual

      1. ROFTL – yeah Norris has been a delight this year although feeling sorry for the Honey Badger.

        1. Agreed with all of these comments – Norris is an absolute beast!

    2. Are you sure you didn’t mean fastest car is fastest while number 2 driver continues to be mediocre at best ;-)

      1. Cars are probably up there, however can you actually tell mercedes isn’t better and verstappen is maybe driving slightly faster than hamilton? Beating bottas isn’t hard, even leclerc does in a ferrari, is perez that bad that he’s hardly ever on bottas level? Didn’t think so before this season at least.

        1. The difference between Mercs being the fastest car or Redbull is Max Verstappen, the boy won the 1st race the moment he stepped into the team, thanks to Lewis putting his car on the grass and taking out Nico.

          Reply moderated
          1. Oh you mean the race when Nico drove out to the edge of the track taking them both out, as for its Max not the car what about its the car not Lewis, looks like a case of cake and eating it, its interesting watching people do this after painting themselves into a corner ;-)

      2. @f1-plossl
        If Perez is mediocre at best than Bottas isn’t much better at all.

        as for its Max not the car what about its the car not Lewis, looks like a case of cake and eating it

        Only now Max has the better car, and one not so dominant than Lewis’ car just last year, so… A good car enhances any driver but only the best racers are able to extract the most of performance from it.

    3. Here’s very good at finishing first in practice, isn’t he? Plenty of skill in the right foot.

      1. I think its he’s left foot he should concentrate on using more…

        1. Typical a Lewis fan answer. You are not allowed to pass Lewis. Please brake.

          1. If you think that’s a good idea then who am I to argue, but that’s not what I meant at all.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    30th July 2021, 12:05

    Got to admit I like Tsunoda and think he’s got a lot of potential, but for a while he’s looked a little underprepared. A lot of talk about his ‘incredible speed’ and how he’s working on ‘consistency’ but so far he’s just been consistently spinning or underperforming. Kinda feels he’s trying too hard? Needs to relax and just do his own thing. It almost looks like he’s here a year too early. I think placing Albon there would have been the stronger option really.

    1. @rocketpanda I must admit I was surprised when people started talking him up in the off-season. I saw him in F2 and thought he was solid but unspectacular, in what was a relatively weak field.

      I agree that he could probably have done with another year in F2 before making the step up, although Honda may have had something to do with his early promotion.

    2. The one hour short F1 practice sessions do not help him either. When I saw that the sessions were cut from 1.5 hrs, I knew the unintended consequence would be felt by the rookies or anyone who changed teams and are in need of some time in their new car.

  6. I know, still FP1. But Perez recent form is alarming.

  7. This is unrelated to this FP1, but I am wondering if anybody has an idea why F1DB.de is not updated anymore since the second race of the season? I have been using that website for over 10 years for stats and that never happened before. Wondering if the guy managing it is okay…

  8. No report on Max’s “damaged” power unit from the last race?

    1. He was driving with that unit.

  9. Sergey Martyn
    30th July 2021, 14:29

    Well, 5 years ago Kvyat was fired just after 4 races with a podium and 7th place under his belt.
    But in 2021 Tsunoda keeps merrily crashing out with just 10 points after TEN races.
    Hey, Dr. Marko, isn’t it time to be more consistent?

    1. Sergey Martyn
      You always appear in this type of articles to predictably bash Yuki and I partially agree with your critical remarks, despite the harsh tone on them, but just answer me that: Why did Kvyat let his form drop since then? I know being demoted should have been a blow, but his performance went downhill during most recent seasons, being soundly beaten by Gasly in 2020 who also had been downgraded from Red Bull. Tsunoda might not be doing much better up to now, but he’s still fresh. It’s understandable that a younger driver who is not shining is preferred to an older driver who is no longer shining any brighter. If he fails to be more consistent over the entire season, however, it might lead to a different story.

      1. Time to do some Russian Automobile Federation jokes.

    2. Again? You know, the RAF won’t do anything to discharge him. He won’t come back to racing until the end of 2022.

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