Championship lead tops practice in Budapest
 
Charles Leclerc has continued in Budapest where he left off in Silverstone by topping this morning’s FIA Formula 2 Championship free practice session at the Hungaroring, setting the pace early on before concentrating on race simulations to take the top spot ahead of Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries.
The Monegasque driver stopped the clocks at 1:27.516 about a third of the way into the hot and sunny session, overturning his own previous best laps to annex the top of the timesheets for the remainder of the session, with his rivals able to get within a tenth but no closer as they fine-tuned their set ups for this afternoon and beyond.
Louis Deletraz set the first quickest lap but was soon deposed by the Ferrari Academy driver, who then went faster each time round for 3 laps as he improved his times at a slightly faster rate than his rivals: they maintained a gap throughout the hot lap fight on their first sets, but just couldn’t knock Leclerc off his perch.
After emerging on fresh rubber all of the grid continued their work until De Vries pushed a little too hard, juddering over the new kerb at turn 11 before finding the wall to prompt a brief VSC period to remove his stricken vehicle: it was the only incident of note in a quiet session ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Behind the top 3 Norman Nato, Nicholas Latifi, Alexander Albon, Sergio Canamasas and Nobuharu Matsushita were well within a second of pole, which covered the top 15 drivers and promises to bring the heat in the battle for pole position.
Preliminary Free Practice Classification
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Charles Leclerc
PREMA Racing
1:27.516
20
2.
Oliver Rowland
DAMS
1:27.586
19
3.
Nyck De Vries
Rapax
1:27.674
10
4.
Norman Nato
Pertamina Arden
1:27.746
23
5.
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:27.876
19
6.
Alexander Albon
ART Grand Prix
1:27.954
18
7.
Sergio Canamasas
Rapax
1:27.978
18
8.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:28.036
19
9.
Jordan King
MP Motorsport
1:28.122
19
10.
Antonio Fuoco
PREMA Racing
1:28.140
20
11.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:28.259
19
12.
Luca Ghiotto
RUSSIAN TIME
1:28.260
20
13.
Robert Visoiu
Campos Racing
1:28.359
20
14.
Gustav Malja
Racing Engineering
1:28.407
16
15.
Ralph Boschung
Campos Racing
1:28.425
18
16.
Sean Gelael
Pertamina Arden
1:28.563
20
17.
Louis Delétraz
Racing Engineering
1:28.645
19
18.
Santino Ferrucci
Trident
1:28.685
22
19.
Sergio Sette Camara
MP Motorsport
1:28.886
19
20.
Nabil Jeffri
Trident
1:29.129
20