Lewis Hamilton edges out Max Verstappen to finish fastest in opening practice for Hungary GP

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Lewis Hamilton edged out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to finish fastest in opening practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The world champion, who was back on the track after his Hockenheim horror show, saw off Verstappen by 0.165 seconds.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel finished third ahead of Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly. Valtteri Bottas did not set a time after Mercedes discovered a fault with his engine.

Hamilton crashed from the lead at last weekend’s rain-disrupted German Grand Prix before crossing the line in 11th place.

The Briton had been battling a virus but, after revealing he slept for three days ahead of this weekend’s race, the last ahead of Formula One’s summer break, he returned to the summit of the time sheets.

No other driver has won the Hungarian Grand Prix more times than Hamilton, and the 34-year-old will go in search of his seventh victory here on Sunday.

Hot on his heels will be Verstappen, the 21-year-old who took advantage of Hamilton’s mistake-ridden afternoon in Germany, to claim his second win from the last three races.

The early signs suggest it could be a three-way fight for victory with Vettel, who drove from last to second at his home race, just one thousandth of a second slower than Verstappen.

Bottas should have reduced the championship deficit to Hamilton at the last race, but crashed out in the closing stages.

Bottas, now 41 points adrift of his team-mate, was sidelined on Friday morning, after Mercedes identified a problem with his engine.

Mercedes were forced to change Bottas’ power unit, leaving the Finn without a time to his name.

Kevin Magnussen finished fifth for Haas ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in sixth.

British rookie Lando Norris ended the opening running in eighth, 1.3 seconds off the pace. George Russell finished ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Robert Kubica in the sister Williams to finish 17th.

The London-born Thai Alexander Albon crashed out of the rain-interrupted second session after he lost control of his Toro Rosso through the final corner.

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It's no Russian roulette as ruthless Daniil Kvyat scores rare podium for Toro Rosso

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Eyebrows were raised around the paddock when Toro Rosso announced last September that they would be bringing Daniil Kvyat back to the team after he spent over a year in the Formula One wilderness. But 11 races into the 2019 season, it seems to be the right choice.

Toro Rosso found themselves on an F1 podium for the first time in 11 years on Sunday, as Kvyat took advantage of a dramatic German Grand Prix to finish third.

What made Kvyat’s podium all the more extraordinary was that it came from him starting 14th on the grid, with the Russian even sitting as low as 19th in the early stages of the race.

But he kept his nerve, stayed confident and showed impressive pace in the final laps to nip ahead of Lance Stroll and clinch his third-ever podium.

Kvyat’s stunning finish was the Red Bull feeder team’s second podium in history after a young Sebastian Vettel clinched victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Remarkably, 25-year-old Kvyat wasn’t even involved in the sport last year after being dropped, joining Ferrari as a development driver, only to make his return this campaign after Red Bull called to fill a vacancy at Toro Rosso.

His recall represented a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for someone whose career appeared over not too long ago.

The Ufa native was relegated from Red Bull in May 2016 for Max Verstappen and, after joining Toro Rosso, was dropped towards the end of the 2017 campaign after scoring just five points to Carlos Sainz’s tally of 54 during the time they were team-mates.

However, right now, Kvyat is looking as strong as any one of the midfield drivers as he attempts to solidify his position in the sport for the long haul – whether that is at Toro Rosso or another side.

One only needs to look at his results this season to highlight his classy form, sitting eighth in the drivers standings on 27 points, with his stunning podium in Germany adding to other formidable displays in Barcelona, Monaco and Silverstone.

In contrast, his rookie team-mate Alexander Albon lies 15th on 15 points.

Could Kvyat’s consistent performances mean a potential promotion to Red Bull in 2020?

Pierre Gasly’s inability to match the pace of team-mate Verstappen since his switch from Toro Rosso for this season has sparked rumours about his future with the Milton Keynes outfit.

While Albon could be an option for Red Bull, it is unlikely he would get the nod for next year as a potential replacement, especially if Christian Horner and Co firmly believe that Gasly was promoted too quickly.

That would, in effect, leave Kvyat as the most likely candidate to move up, having already gained previous experience at Red Bull during the 2015 campaign and for the first four races of the 2016 season.

In saying that, his return may only be a short-term fix, but could present a long-term opportunity for Kvyat himself.

If he can continue to perform strongly for the rest of the campaign, opportunities may present themselves elsewhere on the grid.

His F1 experience would be viewed highly at teams such as Haas or Alfa Romeo, while Toro Rosso works to build its pool of young talent once more.

Rising stars Dan Ticktum and Patricio O’Ward are often name-checked as future Toro Rosso or Red Bull drivers and it could only be a matter of time before they get a run.

If, however, there is a change, it is unlikely Kvyat will make way. His display in Hockenheim is a huge statement, and proof that his latest chance in F1 is well deserved.

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Video: Max Verstappen reflects on chaotic rain-hit German Grand Prix victory

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Max Verstappen won a chaotic rain-hit German Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton crashed while on course for victory.

Hamilton crashed from the lead of the race while Valtteri Bottas’ afternoon ended in the wall following a late spin.

Dutchman Verstappen finished ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who fought back from last, and Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

“As soon as I was ahead of the Mercedes cars, you could really see the pace I had because I was just pulling away quite comfortably with saving tyres,” he said.


“So, yeah, today was very good and we stayed mostly out of trouble. So of course, (I am) very happy to win it.”









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