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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Hungarian GP practice as Lewis Hamilton struggles

German quickest in his Ferrari ahead of Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo at the Hungaroring

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in practice for Ferrari. Reuters
Sebastian Vettel was fastest in practice for Ferrari. Reuters

Sebastian Vettel made a statement of intent to his hopes of winning the Hungarian Grand Prix for a third time in four years with Ferrari as he topped the times in Friday practice.

The German's time of 1 minute, 16.834 seconds was 0.074 secs quicker then that set by Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen at the Hungaroring track in Budapest.

Vettel is looking to bounce back after losing the championship lead when he crashed out while leading at the German Grand Prix last weekend in Hockenheim.

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He has been boosted though as title leader Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-GP struggled at a track that they had been expected to toil on.

Hamilton was 0.7 seconds slower then Vettel in fifth place, slower then both Red Bulls and Ferraris, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas was a further 0.3 slower in sixth.

Both Mercedes drivers made mistakes on their fastest laps as they struggled with tyre overheating so the gap is perhaps not as substantial as it looks on paper, but they were the third quickest team on raw pace.

Hamilton has a 17-point lead going into Sunday's race, but if they finished the event as they did practice then Vettel would slash that advantage to two points going into the summer break.

Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest in the second Red Bull ahead of Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Romain Grosjean was the best of the rest in seventh, ahead of Carlos Sainz's Renault.

Final practice is at 2pm on Saturday UAE time, with qualfying at 5pm. The 70-lap race begins at 5.10pm on Sunday.