Formula One returns to Hungary this weekend for Round 12 of the F1 World Championship, and the drama didn’t take long to begin.
The big news of the weekend is of course Daniel Ricciardo returning to the grid after his departure from McLaren at the end of 2022. The Australian eight-time winner hit the track in FP1 in his Alpha Tauri, to begin his loan from Red Bull until the end of the season.
The pressure would then of course be on Sérgio Perez in the second Red Bull, and the talking point of FP1 was instantaneous. On just his first run in the session, the Mexican driver hit the wall at turn five to heavily damage the front of his car. The red flag came out, along with the rain. As the crowd put their ponchos on, there were no times on the board after 20 minutes.
When the action got back underway, Lewis Hamilton was the first one out there on the damp Hungaroring, suiting the intermediate tyres. With a lot of teams bringing upgrades to this race, the rain and a disrupted practice was not the welcome they would’ve wanted.
After 32 minutes, the rain then completely intensified to make FP1 a washout, all whilst McLaren sent Oscar Piastri out on the intermediate tyres who struggled to make it back to the pits. The same happened to Pierre Gasly, as the shower continued to fall. With 20 minutes left, there were still no times on the screen.
Finally, with only 17 minutes left, someone set a lap, and it was the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas. However, like the drivers before him, the Fin struggled to find any grip and drifted around the corners of the Hungaroring. Ricciardo then followed him to get his first test of a wet track in the AT04, before Sainz crashed his Ferrari to bring out another red flag.
The last 10 minutes of running saw Lando Norris throw up an almighty amount of spray from his McL60; the Hungarian weather took no prisoners. In the final moments, the timing screens were finally seeing some times, with George Russell leading the way from Oscar Piastri and Lance Stroll. Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top five.