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Vettel quickest in FP2 as rain restricts running

NEWS STORY
17/07/2020

Ahead of today's second practice session the air temperature is 16.2 degrees C, while the track temperature is 20.1 degrees. While there was a little drizzle during the opening session - not enough to even consider Inters - since then the heavens have opened up and it is still raining.

Based on this morning's evidence on might think that is good news, for wet weather can usually mix up the order.

However, based on last Saturday's evidence, Mr Hamilton remains the man to beat, whatever the weather.

As if that wasn't enough, this morning he and his teammate out-paced the opposition by over half-a-second, and to make matters worse, while the likes of Verstappen, Vettel and Leclerc were on softs, Mr Hamilton was on hards.

And to add just a little more spice, third and fourth quickest were the Racing Points.

While there is talk of the need to run in case of further rain tomorrow and even Sunday, with an eye of the very busy schedule in the weeks ahead teams will not be wanting to risk unnecessary damage to their cars.

The lights go green and understandably there is no mad rush to get to work.

Five minutes in and Gasly heads out, the AlphaTauri driver having missed FP1 due to a power unit "anomaly", subsequently discovered to be sensor related. He is on full wets.

As he slithers his way around the circuit, his rivals watch with interest.

After almost 15 minutes of nothing, Perez breaks the deadlock and heads down the pitlane. Like Gasly before him the Mexican is on the full wets.

Unlike Gasly however, he continues for a second lap. On-board footage shows just how slippery the conditions are. Nonetheless, he completes the lap crossing the line at 1:43.862.

Next time around he posts 42.470 as he is told that his rears are "on the cool side".

As Perez pits, Raikkonen and Stroll head out, both on full wets.

Stroll posts 46.445 as he too is told that his rears are on the cool side. Raikkonen posts 53.054.

At the thirds attempt Stroll posts 42.380, while Raikkonen can only manage 49.193.

Stroll pits having failed to improve, while Raikkonen posts a 47.769. "It's f****** ridiculous," replies the Iceman when told to pit.

Approaching half-time, and with just three names on the timesheets, Ocon heads out.

Unlike those that went before him, the Frenchman is on Inters. Wisely, judging by the conditions, he pits at the end of the lap.

With 42:10 remaining, Ricciardo heads out on Inters. As the Australian subsequently heads back to the pits, the Ferrari pair head out on full wets.

Leclerc posts 45.827 and Vettel 44.912, as Norris and Kvyat head out, also on the blue-banded rubber.

Leclerc improves to 43.725 and Vettel 43.090 as Grosjean heads out.

A 41.564 sees Vettel go top as his teammate pits. Kvyat posts 48.560 to go seventh, of seven. "A lot of wheelspin," reports the Russian.

Kvyat improves to 47.422 as Grosjean posts 47.474, demoting Raikkonen to eighth.

"It doesn't feel like it's getting any better," complains Raikkonen.

With 28 minutes remaining, Bottas heads out, the Finn sporting full wets.

Grosjean posts 43.335 to go fourth, as Giovinazzi goes sixth (44.411), despite an off on his previous lap.

Fastest in S2, Bottas crosses the line at 40.736 to go second, 0.272s down on Vettel.

At which point Sainz heads out, with Hamilton close behind, the world champion sporting Inters. This could mark the turning point in the session.

Or rather not, as he heads back to the pits.

A detour for Sainz as the Spaniard runs out of road at Turn 2. Clearly undeterred, the McLaren driver subsequently posts 41.784 to go third.

Sainz was on full wets, but subsequently pits for Inters, at which point Vettel and Bottas also switch to the green-banded rubber. As does Leclerc, while Verstappen finally makes an appearance, also on the Inters.

While Vettel fails to improve, Leclerc's car twitches violently.

It's déjà vu as Bottas is told to stay clear of the kerbs at T1.

Despite going quickest in S1, Vettel fails to improve again, which is just as well as his time is subsequently deleted.

"It's slippery on this tyre," reveals Stroll of the Inters.

Gasly complains that something is burning at the rear of his car.

More drivers switch to Inters but there are no significant improvements. Clearly it is still too wet for the green-banded tyres.

Hamilton, who has only completed an install lap on Inters, is already out of his car, his day's work done.

A late appearance from the Red Bull duo, both on full wets, while Magnussen heads out for the first time (Inters).

Verstappen goes seventh (42.820) the cameras picking up on his brilliant car control. Albon on the other hand fails to post a time because the session has ended.

Vettel is quickest, ahead of Bottas, Sainz, Stroll, Perez, Gasly, Verstappen, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Leclerc, Giovinazzi, Norris and Kvyat, the only drivers to post time.

Check out our Friday gallery from Budapest, here.

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