Briton grabs P1 from Hyman at flag in Budapest  
George Russell claimed the top spot in this afternoon’s free practice session at the Hungaroring with a late, fast lap as the chequered flag dropped, capping a fast and frantic session which saw the lead change countless times across the 45 minutes before the Briton finally snatched P1 from Raoul Hyman and Nirei Fukuzumi.
The Mercedes Junior driver stopped the clock at 1:32.255, going fastest in the first 2 sectors but running slightly wide at the final turn to steal the top spot from Hyman by just 0.085s in a very close session at a track where the teams had tested just one month ago.
The session opened to warm, sunny conditions and lengthening shadows all around the circuit, with all of the field except for Alessio Lorandi running straight out on track: the times started tumbling as almost the entire grid swapped the top spot right from the start. Nevertheless there were no real problems on track until Giuliano Alesi hit a marker board at the halfway mark, spreading debris across the track and prompting a red flag period to deal with it all.
The field were back on track 8 minutes later as the circuit went live, apart from Jack Aitken who struggled to get going at the restart and was pushed back to the pits by his team to investigate as his rivals looked to steal P1 from the likeable Briton. Over the closing minutes the battle for the top spot was hotter than ever: Arjun Maini claimed it with 10 to go, with teammate Lorandi on a charge before running wide at turn 11, and then it swapped between Fukuzumi, Russell, Fukuzumi and Hyman, with the South African quickest in the tricky middle sector.
It looked like he’d done enough to claim the honours as the clock ticked down to zero, returning to the pits as Russell hit his final lap: the Briton’s first two sectors were purple, giving him enough margin despite the small mistake at the final corner to take the session for himself. Behind the top 3 Niko Kari, Maini, Aitken, Kevin Joerg, Leonardo Pulcini, Tatiana Calderon and Bruno Baptista were all well with a second of Russell and will be looking to overturn his advantage in tomorrow morning’s qualifying session.
Provisional Free Practice Classification
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
George Russell
ART Grand Prix
1:32.255
19
2.
Raoul Hyman
Campos Racing
1:32.340
18
3.
Nirei Fukuzumi
ART Grand Prix
1:32.578
16
4.
Niko Kari
Arden International
1:32.605
16
5.
Arjun Maini
Jenzer Motorsport
1:32.621
16
6.
Jack Aitken
ART Grand Prix
1:32.624
19
7.
Kevin Jörg
Trident
1:32.796
17
8.
Leonardo Pulcini
Arden International
1:32.856
16
9.
Tatiana Calderon
DAMS
1:32.918
19
10.
Bruno Baptista
DAMS
1:32.973
20
11.
Ryan Tveter
Trident
1:33.060
20
12.
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
1:33.126
20
13.
Dorian Boccolacci
Trident
1:33.169
18
14.
Steijn Schothorst
Arden International
1:33.207
18
15.
Matthieu Vaxivière
DAMS
1:33.407
16
16.
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:33.596
18
17.
Alessio Lorandi
Jenzer Motorsport
1:33.844
19
18.
Julien Falchero
Campos Racing
1:33.943
17
19.
Marcos Siebert
Campos Racing
1:34.847
16