Motor racing-Verstappen tops opening practice in Hungary

·1 min read
Hungarian Grand Prix

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen edged out Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to set the pace for Red Bull in Friday's opening practice session at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman lapped the twisty 4.3km Hungaroring circuit on the outskirts of Budapest in one minute, 17.555 seconds, 0.061 seconds quicker than the Finn.

His championship rival Lewis Hamilton was 0.167 seconds off the pace in third for Mercedes, the Briton finding himself right behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc at the start of what should have been his fastest run.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points in the overall standings after 10 of this season's 23 races.

The pair head into the weekend with tensions between them simmering after a controversial collision at the last race in Britain.

They could enter the sport's month-long summer break after Sunday's race level on points if Hamilton, gunning for a landmark 100th career victory and record ninth in Hungary, wins ahead of Verstappen with the fastest lap.

Carlos Sainz set the fourth fastest time for Ferrari on Friday ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.

Fernando Alonso, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Thursday, was sixth for Alpine at the track where he scored his maiden Formula One win in 2003.

Leclerc was seventh ahead of Verstappen's Mexican team mate Sergio Perez.

Briton Lando Norris was ninth for McLaren ahead of Canadian Lance Stroll who rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin.

The session, run on a hot and sunny morning, was briefly halted after Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda lost control of his AlphaTauri and spun into the barriers.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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