Jack Doohan ended Free Practice fastest of all ahead of Qualifying but there was almost nothing splitting him from Ayumu Iwasa. Just 0.001s was the gap from the Virtuosi Racing driver to the DAMS in P2 at the end of the Practice session at the Hungaroring. David Beckmann popped up late on to take P3 for Van Amersfoort Racing. The German was one of the only drivers to move up the order in the final 10 minutes.
Track temperatures were quickly rising as cars took to the track. A brief yellow flag for a hare dashing across the circuit on the main straight made for a bizarre start to the session but things resumed as normal with 38 minutes to go. Birthday boy Marcus Armstrong was the first to set a representative time to go fastest early on. That lasted until Théo Pourchaire and Frederik Vesti made it an ART Grand Prix 1-2 in the Frenchman’s favour. A 1:30.870 was just 0.067s quicker than his Danish teammate.
Logan Sargeant did well to keep his Carlin out of the barriers at the final corner after a snap of oversteer on entry sent his car heading straight on during his first effort. The American stayed out of trouble and posted a 1:30.456 soon after to move up to 12th.
Felipe Drugovich’s first flying lap was looking competitive for three corners until the MP Motorsport driver suffered his own moment at Turn 4 and ran across the exit kerbs.
Doohan and Dennis Hauger were trading the top spot for several laps until the Virtuosi driver popped up with a 1:29.562 to go two-tenths clear of the pack. Iwasa went as close as he could, ending his next best lap 0.001s down on Doohan with 24 minutes left of the session.
Sargeant was struggling to make up much time in his Carlin in the first two-thirds of the session, and a very uncomfortable ride across the exit kerbs at Turn 4 didn’t help his cause. Olli Caldwell wasn’t having any luck either, suffering a spectacular lock-up into Turn 1 and earning some hefty flat spots for his troubles.
With the best of the medium tyres long behind them, there were seldom any improvements in the remaining minutes of the session. A purple middle sector from Doohan with just over three minutes to go teased an improvement but his lap wasn’t to be. His car came to a slow crawl in the final sector, and he coasted to the outside of Turn 2, parking it behind the barriers and ending his session early.
A late yellow flag coincided with the end of Practice as Hauger spun off the track at Turn 11. The Norwegian nosed into the barriers but avoided any substantial damage.
Vesti was bumped down to fourth after a late improvement from Beckmann moved the VAR driver up into the top three. Armstrong completed the top five in his Hitech.
Qualifying is set to start at 18:30 local time.