Romain Grosjean took top spot in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, his time of 1:20.730 beating out Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso by just under two tenths of a second.
The morning’s third quickest time went to McLaren’s Sergio Perez, who then crashed soon after Grosjean had completed his timesheet-topping lap. The Mexican driver’s Turn 11 slide into the barriers precluded any further improvement in times.
The session began in predictable fashion with installation laps giving way to runs on the medium Pirelli tyre. Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen was the first to set a realistic benchmark 15 minutes in, with a lap of 1:22.717.
That was soon beaten by Grosjean but as the session approached the half way point, Lewis Hamilton leapt to the top of the order with a lap of 1:22.266. The Mercedes driver then bettered that with a lap of 1:21.942, the only driver to dip below 1m22s on the medium tyre.
Friday’s quickest man, Sebastian Vettel, was noticeable by his absence from the top 10 on the prime tyre. The championship-leading driver chose to focus on a long opening run, recording 20 laps on a single set of medium tyres before returning to his Red Bull Racing garage to take on soft tyres for the final part of the hour.
Alonso was the first out on the option tyre and immediately eclipsed Hamilton’s medium tyre best by a full second, the Ferrari driver posting a lap of 1:20.898. Grosjean then moved into P1 with six minutes to go but when Perez crashed out the improvements came to a halt, leaving the Frenchman top, ahead of Alonso and the unfortunate Perez.
Behind them, Vettel moved to P4 on the soft tyre, ahead of Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari. Hamilton took sixth for Mercedes, with Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber seventh. The final top 10 places went to Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, McLaren’s Jenson Button and Force India’s Adrian Sutil.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez was the only driver who failed to set a time in the session. The Mexican completed two installation laps before he returned to the garage with an engine problem that sidelined him for the rest of the session.
2013 Hungarian Grand Prix Free Practice 3 times
1 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:20.730
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.898 +0.168
3 Sergio Pérez McLaren 1:21.052 +0.322
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:21.125 +0.395
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.151 +0.421
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.158 +0.428
7 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:21.254 +0.524
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.356 +0.626
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1:21.499 +0.769
10 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:21.519 +0.789
11 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:21.589 +0.859
12 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:21.646 +0.916
13 Paul di Resta Force India 1:21.963 +1.233
14 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:21.964 +1.234
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:22.180 +1.450
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:22.423 +1.693
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.028 +2.298
18 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:23.975 +3.245
19 Charles Pic Caterham 1:23.987 +3.257
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:24.298 +3.568
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.122 +4.392
22 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber No time