Max Verstappen set the third fastest time during the second free practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix in Formula 1. However, the Red Bull leader was a few tenths of a second slower than his Mercedes rivals in Budapest.
Verstappen clocked a time of 1.17.310 in his best lap at the Hungaroring. The Finn Valtteri Bottas was the fastest with 1.17.012, followed by British world champion Lewis Hamilton with 1.17.039. The Mexican Sergio Pérez, Verstappen’s teammate, set the fifth time: 1.17,824.
“We tried a few adjustments,” the Dutchman said afterwards on Verstappen.com. “We wanted to know which things worked and which didn’t. The track was very hot, and there are many things to look at. There are no big things that we won’t get over, and it just wasn’t an easy day with these temperatures.”
Verstappen, the World Cup position leader, had set the best time during the first training session (1.17.555). The third free practice session will be completed on Saturday, followed by qualifying. The Grand Prix is on Sunday.
Of course, Verstappen’s serious crash on the circuit in Hungary on Friday, after a knock from Hamilton’s car almost two weeks ago at the GP of Great Britain, was still the main topic of conversation. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Red Bull had gone too far with its criticism of Hamilton. “They have tried to damage his reputation and his integrity as a sportsman,” Wolff said indignantly.
Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, had previously criticized Hamilton’s offending attempt to overtake. He touched Verstappen and then flew the Dutchman off the track, calling it “desperate, thoughtless and amateurish”. Verstappen’s racing stable also protested against the 10-second time penalty that Hamilton received for his action. According to Red Bull, the Briton, who won the race at Silverstone, deserved a more severe penalty for the incident, but the appeal was rejected on Thursday.
Horner denied Friday that he had said Hamilton intentionally caused the collision with Verstappen. He also rejected the suggestion that Red Bull is working on a major offensive against Mercedes. “We would have reacted and acted the same way with any other team in a situation like this,” Horner emphasized.