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Vettel lays down dominant marker to Hamilton, Mercedes

Vettel lays down dominant marker to Hamilton, Mercedes

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Vettel lays down dominant marker to Hamilton, Mercedes

Vettel lays down dominant marker to Hamilton, Mercedes

Friday success has not been a hallmark of Sebastian Vettel's 2018 season, but the Ferrari man went quickest of all in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix as he begins his response to a heart-breaking home race. Vettel will hope to eat into Lewis Hamilton's championship lead, with Mercedes relegated to third-best around the twisting Hungaroring on Friday.

RED CARS AND RED BULL BATTLE

Daniel Ricciardo topped the timesheet in FP1 and Max Verstappen was within a tenth of Vettel in FP2 as Red Bull made good on their downforce advantage.

Whether Ricciardo and Verstappen will be able to keep pace in qualifying remains to be seen, when Renault cannot match the extra power of Ferrari and Mercedes.

Neither Hamilton or Bottas put in a representative lap in qualifying simulations as they made errors on ultrasoft runs, leaving them seven tenths and a full second adrift of Vettel respectively.

Regardless, it would appear that anything on the front-row would be a he achievement for the Silver Arrows on Saturday.

And Vettel looks in pole position to respond to his Hockenheim DNF in the best way, delivering a 16-lap long run on the ultrasoft tyres too, with an average time favourable compared to Verstappen's leading mean time.

MAD MIDFIELD

Predicting anything below the top three teams is a mug's game.

Romain Grosjean was best of the rest on one-lap pace, but Kevin Magnussen was eight tenths down. Toro Rosso (-0.4 secs) Renault (-0.4secs) and McLaren (-0.850 secs) also saw sizable disparities between their cars.

It promises to be a tense battle, however, with seven tenths separating Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr in eighth and the Sauber of Charles Leclerc in 17th.

NEW CHASSIS, SAME MISERY

Stoffel Vandoorne is having a seriously shocking time of it at the moment. He was further adrift from Fernando Alonso as anyone was to their team-mate.

The Belgian is racing with an old chassis this weekend as McLaren continue to try and solve his puzzling lack of downforce - a similar issue is not present on Alonso's car it would seem.

Vandoorne almost had his session cut short when he dipped a wheel on the grass and spun off at turn five. Although he took his hands off the steering wheel as he braced for the barriers, his car ran out of momentum to save him, but perhaps offer an indication of how much pace it is lacking...

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