Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet in the final hour of practice ahead of the Qualifying for the 20223 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver beating Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen by more than two tenths of a second. The Red Bull driver’s team-mate, Sergio Pérez was third.
With the Alternative Tyre Allocation set to make its debut in Qualifying at the Hungaroring, a format that requires teams to use a Hard tyre in Q1, a Medium in Q2 and a Soft in Q3, there was plenty of action during FP3 with drivers pushing on all three compounds.
After relatively conservative early laps from AlphaTauri’s Daniel Riccirado and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Verstappen set the early pace with a lap of 1:18.478 set on new Medium tyres. The Dutchman’s time on the yellow-banded tyre remained the quickest for some time, despite a number of drivers running Soft tyres, including McLaren’s Oscar Piastri whose time of 1:18.949 handed him P3 behind Pérez. Alfa Romeo pair Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu then split the Red Bulls on fresh Softs tyres, with Bottas just a hundredth of a second off Verstappen’s Medium tyre best.
The Dutchman’s early lap remained the benchmark until well into the second half of the session, but eventually Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso found enough pace on new Softs to dislodge the champion. The Spanish veteran stopped the clock at 1:18.350, 0.128s clear of Verstappen.
Lando Norris then ousted Alonso, the McLaren driver using new Medium tyres to go almost three tenths of a second clear of the Aston Martin.
As the session entered its final quarter, Hamilton and fellow Mercedes driver George Russell headed out on Soft tyres. Russell claimed third place but Hamilton found more pace and he jumped to the top of the pile with a lap of 1: 17.811.
Verstappen then bolted on new Softs but he couldn’t make them work to his advantage and his best attempt on the red-banded tyres left him 0.250s behind the seven-time champion. Pérez slotted into third, 0.013s behind his team-mate before improving in the final moments to sit just 0.006s behind his team-mate.
Behind Pérez, Hülkenberg put in a good lap to rise to fourth, just 0.010 behind Pérez, and the Haas driver’s lap bounced Norris to fifth ahead of Russell.
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz spent much of the session on longer medium-tyre runs but in the final part of the session they put in performance runs, with Leclerc taking sixth and Sainz seventh. After his mid-session stint in P1 Alonso slid to ninth place at the end of the hour, while Bottas rounded out the top 10, six tenths off Hamilton’s table topper.
2023 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.811 20 202.691
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:18.061 0.250 23 202.041
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:18.067 0.256 25 202.026
4 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:18.077 0.266 21 202.000
5 Lando Norris McLaren 1:18.082 0.271 19 201.987
6 George Russell Mercedes 1:18.119 0.308 22 201.891
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.190 0.379 28 201.708
8 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:18.234 0.423 29 201.595
9 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:18.350 0.539 20 201.296
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:18.489 0.678 24 200.940
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:18.536 0.725 20 200.820
12 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:18.544 0.733 23 200.799
13 Alexander Albon Williams 1:18.592 0.781 17 200.676
14 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:18.598 0.787 19 200.661
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:18.649 0.838 26 200.531
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:18.776 0.965 22 200.208
17 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:18.814 1.003 16 200.111
18 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri 1:18.828 1.017 28 200.076
19 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:18.979 1.168 22 199.693
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:19.156 1.345 29 199.247