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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Nimble Red Bulls can lead the charge in Hungary

Ferrari power difficult to unleash at tight track

Daniel Ricciardo should be confident of a better result in Hungary after his retirement at Hockenheim
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Hungarian Grand Prix
First practice 
Sky Sports F1, 10am Friday

The F1 season will be finely poised heading into its summer break whatever happens in this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ferrari have clearly gained a power advantage since the French Grand Prix, not that it did them much good in last week’s German race when Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the lead in his home event and Lewis Hamilton won from 14th on the grid.

Power is not what you need most in Hungary though as mechanical grip in the tight turns is much more use at the slow-speed circuit.

Mercedes insist the track doesn’t suit their car, even though they scored a one-two finish there in 2016 and were third and fourth to Ferrari last year.

The red cars should be a force on any track but there is not much chance for them to demonstrate their speed in a straight line in Budapest.

Bookmakers recognise both of those factors and have made the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen favourites to go fastest in practice one, which seems reasonable.

The Bulls were in command at Monaco this year, and have been quickest in three of the last six curtain-raising sessions.

Ferrari are not normally seen at their best until Saturday, and Vettel is favourite for pole and the race victory, but they have not topped the Friday morning times yet this season.

Ricciardo is set to avoid an engine grid penalty after his retirement at Hockenheim and can get his weekend off to a fast start.

D Ricciardo fastest in first practice

1pt 11-4 Sky Bet

The lowdown

Venue Hungaroring, near Budapest

Number of laps 70

Lap length 4.381km

Lap record 1.19.071 M Schumacher (Ferrari) 2004

Schedule Practice one 10am Friday; ­practice two 2pm Friday; practice three 11am Saturday; qualifying 2pm Saturday; race 2.10pm Sunday.

Circuit characteristics Hungaroring is a tight and twisty circuit with the lowest average speed outside Monaco. There are some undulations and the race usually takes place in scorching temperatures. Overtaking is difficult, but not impossible

Tyre allocation Medium (white), soft (yellow) and ultrasoft (purple)

DRS zones Before turns one and two

Last five years (grid) S Vettel (1), L Hamilton (2), S Vettel (3), D Ricciardo (4), L Hamilton (1)

Last year Sebastian Vettel suffered handling issues for much of the race but with teammate Kimi Raikkonen ­following obediently the German headed a Ferrari one-two.

2017 pole S Vettel, 1.16.276

2017 fastest lap F Alonso, 1.20.182 on lap 69

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Ferrari are not normally seen at their best until Saturday and Vettel is favourite for pole and the race victory
E.W. Terms
Sky bet