BUDAPEST, Hungary — Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first and second practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday, with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg second.
Hamilton’s best lap of 1 minute, 24.482 seconds was 0.238 seconds faster than Rosberg’s in the second session.
The Mercedes drivers, who have won nine of the 10 races this season, were the only ones finishing below 1:25 and were over a second faster than in the first practice. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was fourth in the second practice, nearly a second off Hamilton’s pace, followed by Kevin Magnussen of McLaren, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and surging Valtteri Bottas of Williams.
Gaining pole position for Sunday’s race is considered a huge plus on the twisting Hungaroring circuit, where passing opportunities are very limited. Hamilton is looking to win his third race in a row and his fifth overall on this track.
Despite far outpacing the rest of the field, Hamilton said neither the soft nor medium Pirelli tire compounds had been satisfactory during the first two practice sessions on the famously dusty circuit.
"Neither tire was good, to be honest," said Hamilton, the 2008 F1 champion who completed 38 laps in the second practice, among the most of all drivers. "They both have very poor grip."
Hamilton said Mercedes was being careful about avoiding excessive tire wear during the practices.
"It feels like you have to slow down too much now, to the point that it’s a bit boring," Hamilton said, adding that he expected a "tough day" during the last practice and the qualifying session on Saturday.
The British driver, who crashed during qualifying a week ago for the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim due to brake failure, could be heard complaining about the brakes again during practice over the team radio. Later, however, he did not seem too concerned.
"I just had some brake settings that weren’t great," Hamilton said after the second practice session. "This is a continuing issue we need to work on."
Hamilton won four of the first five races of the season, later adding a fifth in at the British Grand Prix. He has 176 points, 14 behind Rosberg and 70 ahead of Ricciardo, the only other winner in 2014.