Lewis Hamilton continued to set the ultimate pace in second practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix as the McLaren man led the way with a 1m21.018s lap ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
In a session dominated by long runs and analysis on the relative degradation of Pirelli's super-soft option and harder prime tires, Hamilton went fastest on an early short run with his red-walled tires 50 minutes in and was never headed thereafter, though it was Red Bull that looked strong in the late soft-tire analysis.
Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button was third quickest ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel's Red Bulls, proving if nothing else that the weekend promises to be very close between the top three teams once again.
An initial threat of a shower prompted the teams to fire out of the pits early in P2 and very quickly Hamilton was back to the top of the times with a time of 1m22.969s. But that rain which spattered the back of the grandstands down near Turn 1, never materialized and things soon returned to normal as everyone concentrated on their long runs. Nevertheless the early burst of activity saw Alonso move to the top of the times with a 1m22.297s that remained the benchmark until after the halfway point in the session as drivers worked on their prime tire analysis.
At this point though the order was Alonso, from Vettel, Button, Massa and Hamilton. Ferrari was the first front-running team to switch to the red-walled super-soft Pirelli option tire and Felipe Massa threatened to go fastest until the Brazilian ran wide at Turn 5 with 40 minutes of the session to go. His teammate Alonso wasn't far behind though and the Spaniard fired in a rapid 1m21.259s lap. This triggered a brace of option runs and Hamilton, visibly enthusiastic in his work on track, moved right back to the top with a 1m21.018s.
Button then moved to third ahead of Webber, fastest of the Red Bulls, who was only fourth, ahead of World Championship leading teammate Sebastien Vettel. That's how things stayed as drivers settled down to do more evaluating of the extent of the super-soft's operating window – or most of them at least. Ominously, though, it was Red Bull that looked most competitive during this phase.
Behind Massa, who ended up sixth fastest, was Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes cars, which were neither close to the top three teams or particularly threatened by Force India immediately behind it.
Force India's drivers therefore completed the top ten with Paul di Resta outpacing Adrian Sutil. Further down the field, notable times included that of Jarno Trulli which was half a second quicker than Lotus teammate Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo who was a similar amount faster than HRT veteran Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.018s 29
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.259s + 0.241 40
3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.322s + 0.304 34
4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.508s + 0.490 35
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.549s + 0.531 31
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.099s + 1.081 40
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.121s + 1.103 36
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m22.440s + 1.422 36
9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.835s + 1.817 40
10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.981s + 1.963 37
11. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.030s + 2.012 34
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.399s + 2.381 37
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m23.679s + 2.661 34
14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m23.861s + 2.843 28
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m24.181s + 3.163 39
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.182s + 3.164 26
17. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m24.546s + 3.528 21
18. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.878s + 3.860 35
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m24.994s + 3.976 38
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m25.447s + 4.429 39
21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m26.823s + 5.805 33
22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m27.261s + 6.243 28
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m27.730s + 6.712 31
24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m28.255s + 7.237 25
All Timing Unofficial