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Lewis Hamilton tops FP1 as Mercedes dominates in Hungary

Goria/Sutton Images

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Mercedes dominated the opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg to the fastest time by 0.237s.

The Mercedes drivers both set their times during seven-lap runs on supers-soft tyres and Hamilton's best effort was a huge 1.644s quicker than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel using the same compound tyre. Red Bull may be able to close the gap when it sends its drivers out on super-soft tyres in second practice after sticking to softs in the morning, but even the advantage of softer rubber does not account for the gaping 1.827s gap between Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo.

Kimi Raikkonen set his fast lap on super-soft tyres late in the session after spending a long time in the garage while his mechanics worked on the car. However, his quick lap ended with an untidy slide through the final corner, which cost him time compared to the Red Bulls and his teammate Vettel.

McLaren looks set for a competitive weekend after finishing first practice as the best of the rest behind the top three teams. Fernando Alonso set a late time on super-soft tyres to beat Jenson Button to seventh place by 0.026s. The times of the two McLaren drivers were made all the more impressive by the team opting not to run the faster super-soft tyre throughout the session.

Alonso was clearly pushing hard at times and spun in the final corner midway through the session as well as running wide twice at Turn 4 as he attempted to lower his lap time. He was not alone in exploring the run offs, with Vettel also spinning and Charles Leclerc, driving for Haas during FP1 in place of Esteban Gutierrez, finding the small gravel trap at the Turns 6 and 7 chicane.

Romain Grosjean was ninth fastest using the super-soft tyres ahead of the two Force Indias, which set their fastest times on softs. Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz also set their best efforts on soft tyres before Marcus Ericsson in 15th was the next driver on the timesheets to make use of the super-softs to set his fastest time.

After testing for Ferrari following the British Grand Prix, Leclerc completed his second FP1 session with Haas and finished 16th fastest, splitting the two Saubers. Esteban Ocon was 18th quickest in the Renault as he stood in for Kevin Magnussen at Renault as part of his reserve driver deal.

Both Pascal Wehrlein and Jolyon Plamer had their sessions cut short by technical problems and finished at the bottom of the timesheets.