Hamilton tops second practice in Hungary ahead of Rosberg

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Lewis Hamilton has picked up where he left off in FP1 by finishing fastest in the second free practice session for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:24.482 to finish two-tenths of a second clear of teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets, as the Silver Arrows dominated proceedings once again in practice at the Hungaroring.

The session took place under sunny skies on the outskirts of Budapest, and saw drivers complete one-lap qualifying simulations in tandem with their long runs in preparation for the race on Sunday. In both trims, Mercedes was the dominant force, and was rarely bothered by the chasing pack during the session.

Sebastian Vettel finished as the best of the rest for Red Bull, and did lead for a short period of time after his first option tire run. The German driver pulled out an impressive gap over teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who could only finish seventh on Friday afternoon.

Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Ferrari, showing signs of good pace at the track where he claimed his first race win. The Scandanavian duo of Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen finished behind him in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Williams improved on its poor FP1 result to get both of its cars inside the top ten. Valtteri Bottas finished eighth for the British team, followed by McLaren’s Jenson Button and teammate Felipe Massa.

Mercedes is clearly the team to beat once again this weekend, although both Rosberg and Hamilton were reporting problems towards the end of the session. Further back, there is an interesting battle developing between Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams for the final podium position which should make for a great race on Sunday.

The next opportunity the drivers will get to head out on track is in the final practice session tomorrow morning. You can watch the session live on Live Extra and online from 5am ET.

If you missed the session live, or just want to watch FP2 again, be sure to tune in to NBCSN at 12pm ET today for the encore.

Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.