It took a persistent Mark Webber (1.21.550) to
bring an end to the dominance of Lewis Hamilton (1.21.643) and
reigning world champion team-mateSebastian Vettel (1.21.671) in the final
hour of practice prior to qualifying at the Hungaroring.
As on Friday, the day's proceedings began in blazing
sunshine and rising temperatures. This time there was no impending
threat of rain on the horizon, allowing the teams to go about their
business in a far more leisurely fashion. As such there was no real
hurry to leave the garage as the pit light turned green, so it fell
to Heikki Kovalainen to take to the slippery track first in his
From there on, the circuit became noticeably more busy.
Jean-Eric Vergne set the maiden benchmark in only the sixth minute,
recording a 1.25.368. His effort signalled the start of a four-way
battle between the Red Bull and Toro Rosso stablemates at the top
of the timesheets, culminating in Vettel heading the fledgling
leaderboard with a lap of 1.23.058 as the fifteen-minute mark
It did not take long before the German was deposed by an
enthusiastic Kimi Raikkonen, who was unusually positive about his
prospects for the weekend. However, the Finn's benchmark was set on
the harder of the two compounds - and in the twenty-seventh minute,
Vettel utilised the additional grip of the soft tyre to reclaim his
spot at the top with a new fastest lap of 1.21.671.
The halfway point passed with an increasing number of drivers
opting to test their pace on the faster rubber. The switch saw Mark
Webber once again take over from his team-mate with a string of
purple sectors which amounted to a time of 1.21.550, further
strengthening Red Bull's stranglehold on the morning's running. The
Australian went unchallenged as session entered it's final quarter
of an hour.
Qualifying simulations continued right up until the climax,
resulting in a number of drastic improvements as fuel loads began
to burn away. The most notable efforts came courtesy of Hamilton,
Vettel and a consistently quick Bruno Senna - but whilst
impressive, each of the frontrunners passed up the opportunity to
topple Webber. Such restrained approaches left the veteran Red Bull
driver with the fastest time of the weekend ahead of the
afternoon's qualifying session.