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What we know ahead of Qualifying at the Hungarian GP

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The qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, one of the slower ones on the racing calendar and one of the most turn-rich, will flag off at 5:25p.m. IST this evening.

The 2014 Hungarian GP: Winner Daniel Ricciardo(L) with Fernando Alonso (C) in 2nd and Hamilton in 3rd 

The first two Free Practice sessions at the Hungaroring concluded yesterday. With Qualifying set for 5:30 p.m this evening, here’s what we learned from the two sessions:

Mercedes look to continue their domination:

Although Nico Rosberg had complained of brake problems prior to FP1, he had no issues during either session. He was heard in an interview saying there were ‘absolutely no problems’ on the day of practice. 

Lewis Hamilton continued to dominate, setting fastest laps at both the first two practice sessions. He was second fastest at FP3 behind the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, who faced some issues himself, with bits of his car disintegrating on the track.

There are suggestions, however, that the teammates do not get along, with Hamilton openly deriding Rosberg’s brake issues prior to FP1, and Rosberg in an interview referring to Hamilton as “Car Number 44”. 

Force India in trouble?

While Hulkenberg was leading for a while at FP3 today, he had his fair share of problems, with bits of his vehicle flying across the track. Yesterday was a dramatic day for the team as Hulkenberg’s teammate Sergio Perez was part of a big crash. Perez had a major suspension failure which caused the car to spin out of control and coast into a wall as it turned upside down. 

Luckily, Perez was safe. Extricated by emergency medical crew, he was assessed and found to not have suffered any injuries. His car was rendered unusable, however. Following the incident, Force India crew decided not to send teammate Hulkenberg out into FP2 as they scrambled to figure out the cause behind the suspension failure Perez suffered. 

Force India have been having better fortune in recent races, but this session has been quite unsuccessful for Perez specifically. His car, rebuilt in a hurry ahead of FP3 today, felt “very loose all over”, the driver said over team radio. 

Ferrari not up to scratch

Both Vettel and Raikkonen were slower than usual at the Hungaroring so far. Raikkonen faced severe problems during FP1 as he lost the air in his front left tyre, following which his front wing disintegrated, littering the track, resulting in the second red flag of the session. 

Vettel has finished the third Free Practice session in 3rd position, while teammate Raikkonen’s problems continue. Although he had a solid start to the session, Raikkonen’s car sprang a leak, described by Ferrari crew as ‘significant’. It is not known if they will be able to repair it in time for qualifying, or the extent of it. Vettel's car also spun out into a turn during the practice sessions, but there was no damage to the vehicle and he was able to continue the session uninterrupted.

McLaren doing better

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button both finished far higher up at the end of FP3 than they usually do. While Alonso was in the top 3 for a significant portion of the third practice session, he finished in 8th. The Spaniard got his first points of the season at Silverstone, as he finished the British Grand Prix in 10th, scoring one point. 

McLaren-Honda have had a bad run at racing this season so far with numerous crashes and non-finishes. Between the two drivers, the team have finished near the bottom of the grid nearly every race this season. 

Red Bull is charging

Following a troublesome season for Red Bull, both drivers did well, with Ricciardo and Kvyat both finishing inside the top 10 at the end of FP3. While Ricciardo was in 9th, Kvyat found himself inside the top 5, in 4th ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr of Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso.

The previous practice session saw Ricciardo finish third in the timesheets behind teammate Kvyat (FP2). They did have some trouble, however, with Ricciardo’s engine billowing smoke as it had done in Bahrain earlier this year. The Australian said he would not take grid penalties, however, as the engine that failed was an old one, and “not the one I will be using on Saturday. It was a tired old power unit,” he said at the public press conference following the session.

The qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, one of the slower ones on the racing calendar and one of the most turn-rich, will flag off at 5:25p.m. IST this evening.

Follow our live coverage here: http://www.sportskeeda.com/topic/hungarian-grand-prix-2015-qualifying


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