Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2023

Hamilton heads hot final Hungary practice ahead of Red Bull pair

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix third practice

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Lewis Hamilton heads into qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix after setting the fastest time in final practice ahead of both Red Bull drivers.

The Mercedes driver was the only competitor to break under the 1’18s barrier to end final practice a quarter-of-a-second quicker than Max Verstappen, with Sergio Perez almost matching his team mate in third.

After drivers only enjoyed a single hour of dry running on Friday, teams would have been relieved to see that there was a zero percent risk of rain as the third and final practice session of the weekend got underway. The sun was baking the circuit, with track temperatures well above 40 degrees as cars ventured out.

The two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez took to the track on the medium compound tyres. Verstappen set the early benchmark time with a 1’18.478, then Perez went just under a tenth slower in second. Ferrari also sent their cars out for the opening ten minutes, with Charles Leclerc going third-fastest a second behind the Red Bulls on the medium tyres, while his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr abandoned two consecutive push laps, complaining about the windy conditions at the Hungaroring.

With more limited tyre sets available for this weekend, some teams were much more conservative than usual in terms of how many laps they permitted their drivers to run. By the time half an hour had elapsed, only half of the 20 drivers have logged more than ten laps.

The wind appeared to continue to catch out drivers, with Leclerc running wide at the final corner and even Verstappen catching a snap of oversteer through turn two. The two Alfa Romeo drivers did not appear to be having such difficulties, however, with Valtteri Bottas going second-quickest and team mate Zhou Guanyu moving into third, both under a tenth away from Verstappen’s best on the medium tyres.

With just over 20 minutes left in the session, Aston Martin fitted a fresh set of soft tyres onto Fernando Alonso’s car. He used them to set a new best time of the session with a 1’18.350, just over a tenth quicker than Verstappen’s earlier best. But soon afterwards Norris used a set of medium tyres to take a quarter of a second out of Alonso’s best and put McLaren on top of the pile.

Then it was the turn of Mercedes and Red Bull to try a qualifying simulation run on soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton set purple sectors in all three sections of the circuit to easily jump to the top with a 1’17.811, but despite going quickest in sector one, Verstappen could not match the Mercedes and was exactly a quarter-of-a-second slower in second. Perez virtually matched his team mate to go third-fastest, while Russell was over half a second behind his team mate in sixth.

That was the last of the improvements at the very top of the times, with only Nico Hulkenberg jumping into the top five in the final ten minutes. When the chequered flag signalled the end of the session, Hamilton was quickest for Mercedes ahead of the two Red Bulls, Verstappen and Perez. Hulkenberg was fourth fastest ahead of Lando Norris on the medium compound tyres.

George Russell was sixth quickest ahead of the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz. Alonso was ninth, with Bottas completing the top ten. With drivers limited to only hard tyres during Q1, only Bottas ran on the hard compound tyres of the top 10 drivers during the session.

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix third practice result

144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’17.81120
21Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’18.0610.25023
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’18.0670.25625
427Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’18.0770.26621
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’18.0820.27118
663George RussellMercedesW141’18.1190.30822
716Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’18.1900.37927
855Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’18.2340.42329
914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’18.3500.53920
1077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’18.4890.67824
1118Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’18.5360.72520
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’18.5440.73323
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’18.5920.78117
1481Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’18.5980.78719
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’18.6490.83826
1610Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’18.7760.96522
172Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’18.8141.00316
183Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’18.8281.01728
1931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’18.9791.16822
2022Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’19.1561.34528

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix combined practice times

PositionNumberDriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
116Charles LeclercFerrari1’41.1421’17.6861’18.1901
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.2771’17.7011’18.0820.0152
344Lewis HamiltonMercedesNo time1’18.7461’17.8110.12516
410Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultNo time1’17.9181’18.7760.2323
522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’45.5751’17.9341’19.1560.2484
631Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultNo time1’18.0451’18.9790.3595
727Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’42.7061’18.0581’18.0770.3726
81Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTNo time1’18.2791’18.0610.37511
911Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTNo time1’18.9781’18.0670.38118
1077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’41.0321’18.0851’18.4890.3997
1114Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’40.6871’18.1051’18.3500.4198
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’41.3631’18.1081’18.5440.4229
1363George RussellMercedes1’38.7951’19.1751’18.1190.43320
1455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariNo time1’18.1821’18.2340.49610
1518Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’40.0131’18.3191’18.5360.63312
1623Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’47.4031’18.3771’18.5920.69113
173Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTNo time1’18.3851’18.8280.69914
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’42.9061’18.5041’18.6490.81815
1981Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.1541’19.1171’18.5980.91219
202Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’41.4161’18.8361’18.8141.12817

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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6 comments on “Hamilton heads hot final Hungary practice ahead of Red Bull pair”

  1. Typical Saturday practice.

    1. Indeed. RBR sandbagging to make out other teams are close to the pace.
      Come qualy and lo, a miraculous drive…

      1. Probably learnt from Ham all those years Mercedes won the championship.

    2. Yeah, I was really hoping for Wednesday tyre testing. Alas it is actually Saturday and indeed, practice. So you are bang on the money!

  2. playstation361
    22nd July 2023, 15:10

    Nice to see Mercedes up.

  3. Prashanth Ramadas
    22nd July 2023, 15:12

    Nice to see Mercedes up.

Comments are closed.