Lewis Hamilton set an ominous pace in opening practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion, who opened his winning account for the new campaign last week in Austria, saw off team-mate Valtteri Bottas for top spot at the Hungaroring.

Lewis Hamilton finished 0.086 seconds clear of the Finn, posting his fastest lap on the more durable but supposedly slowest hard Tyre compound.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez finished third, half-a-second back, with his team-mate Lance Stroll the only other driver within one second of Hamilton.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Renault ahead of the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton is bidding to win the race at the Hungaroring for an eighth time and his third in succession here following victories last year and in 2018.

And the Briton looks on course to challenge for a second triumph in as many weeks with his all-conquering Mercedes team the class of the field once more.

While the opening running took place under grey skies and in front of empty grandstands – with spectators banned from attending the third round in the sport’s Covid-19 era – the rain largely stayed away, with Vettel reporting only small drops in the closing stages.

The four-time world champion, whose future beyond this year remains in the balance, finished an eye-watering 1.2secs down on Hamilton with Leclerc a couple of tenths back.

Red Bull also appear to be struggling for pace. Max Verstappen finished in eighth, 1.4secs off the pace with Alexander Albon in 13th.

McLaren driver Lando Norris, who returned to the UK to see a back specialist after muscular pain disrupted his driving last weekend, finished ninth.

The 20-year-old, an impressive third in the championship standings after the opening two rounds, finished one tenth and two places ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz.


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