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Hamilton continues to dominate in Hungary

NEWS STORY
26/07/2014

Ahead of today's sole practice session the air temperature is 26 degrees C, while the track temperature is 42 degrees. It remains hot.

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in both of yesterday's sessions with teammate Nico Rosberg right behind. However, worryingly, in both sessions the third placed driver was over 0.6s behind the Briton. A four-time winner here, Hamilton must be feeling extremely confident.

The high downforce demands appear to have hit Williams here, though the Grove outfit has yet to fully show its hand, whilst the absence of FRIC is being felt more here than it was in Germany.

Ferrari and Red Bull have improved, as have McLaren and Toro Rosso, but there's ignoring that 0.6s gap.

On the other hand, other than the threat of rain on Sunday, the group - or rather groups - behind the Mercedes are tightly bunched so therefore, despite the limitations of the circuit, we should see some interesting battles tomorrow and some surprises in qualifying later today.

In terms of the tyres (medium and soft), we're seeing about 1.6 seconds between the two compounds, and this is not likely to change much, especially as the soft tyre in particular is showing low levels of thermal degradation. Pirelli is currently predicting a two-stop strategy on Sunday.

The two DRS zones, which share a detection point 5m before Turn 14, are 130m after the apex of Turn 14 and 6m after the apex of Turn 1.

Almost everyone went off or locked-up at some point or another yesterday but things should improve today as the track is 'rubbered in'.

The lights go green and Vergne leads Kvyat, Maldonado and Sutil out on to the track. Ricciardo and Vettel are among the early risers.

"It's pretty much as it was yesterday under braking," says Ricciardo, "pulling to the left."

Hamilton runs wide in T1 as Kobayashi posts the first time of the day, the Japanese stopping the clock at 36.947. Moments later, teammate Ericsson posts 32.616.

Things get serious when Rosberg crosses the line at 26.374, one of the few drivers to remain on track after his installation lap.

As Ericsson locks-up and runs wide in T12, Rosberg complains that the "magic button" isn't working. Another lock-up for Hamilton in T1 and teammate Rosberg in T12.

"I can't seem to stop the car," complains Hamilton, his brake problem seemingly still not fully cured. Currently his best time is 30.055.

Magnussen goes second (27.084), ahead of Kvyat, Maldonado and Bianchi.

As Rosberg goes quickest in S3, Hamilton gets very, very crossed up in the final corner.

Hulkenberg posts 27.872 to go fourth.

Bottas goes second with a 26.949 as Kobayashi goes off at T4, drivers still clearly struggling for grip.

As Hamilton appears to be on a sort of race simulation, therefore not seeking to improve his time, Vettel goes second (26.362) only to be demoted when Bottas takes the top spot with a 26.240. Ricciardo goes fourth.

After twenty minutes, all but Alonso and Button have posted times.

Massa posts 26.694 to go fifth, thereby giving Williams two cars in the top five.

Button goes eleventh (27.451) as Ricciardo bangs in a 25.999 to go top. Hamilton pits after a run of 11 laps.

At 'half-time', there are only three drivers on track - Rosberg, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi - with Alonso still to post a time. At which precise point the Spaniard heads down the pitlane.

The order is: Ricciardo, Bottas, Rosberg, Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen, Magnussen, Kvyat, Perez and Vergne.

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