Lewis Hamilton tops opening practice for Hungarian GP
Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton in action during the first practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, on July 25, 2014 - by Attila Kisbenedek
The 29-year-old Briton clocked a best time of one minute and 25.814 seconds in clear, dry and hot conditions at the Hungaroring circuit, set in a rural bowl of farmland 25 kilometres north of the Hungarian capital.
His best lap left him 0.183 seconds clear of his teammate Nico Rosberg and 0.6 seconds clear of the rest of the field as the action began at the final race weekend before F1 heads to the beach for its now-traditional August holiday.
Hamilton is seeking to complete a hat-trick of Hungarian wins and claim a record fifth at the event to regain ground on championship leader Rosberg in the title race. The German leads by 14 points after winning last Sunday.
Kimi Raikkonen shrugged off his indifferent form this year on his return to one of his favourite circuits to finish third-fastest ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Defending four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was fifth for Red Bull ahead of Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen of McLaren, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso, Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull and Jenson Button in the second McLaren.
Felipe Massa of Williams was down in 10th as he returned to action five days after being tipped upside down in an accident at the first corner of last Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Raikkonen finished on the podium in his last five races at the Hungaroring and his form will be vital to help Ferrari avoid extending their dismal run and making 2014 their worst start to a season since 1986.
Ferrari have secured only one podium this year.