Hamilton quickest in first practice for Hungarian GP

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Lewis Hamilton has made a good start in his bid for an unprecedented fifth victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix by finishing fastest in first practice on Friday morning at the Hungaroring.

The Briton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:25.814 to finish just under two-tenths of a second clear of Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

Mercedes once again dominated proceedings during practice, suggesting that the loss of the FRIC suspension device at the German Grand Prix has not done as much harm to the Silver Arrows as many expected.

Both Hamilton and Rosberg completed runs on the option and prime tires, as well as some development work to ensure that all systems are working properly following a troublesome weekend in Germany that saw the Briton suffer a brake failure during qualifying.

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso put in a good first display for Ferrari at the Hungaroring to finish third and fourth respectively. Many questions have been asked about Raikkonen’s motivation of late, but if practice is anything to go by, he could be back in business in Hungary after a difficult start to the season.

To make matters even better for Ferrari, nearest rivals Williams finished well down the order. Felipe Massa came home in tenth, with Valtteri Bottas down in 15th. The Finn’s pursuit of a fourth straight podium finish may be more of a challenge this weekend than it was in Germany.

Red Bull enjoyed a solid first practice session, with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo finishing fifth and eighth respectively. Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne put in some good lap times to finish between the Red Bull cars, and Jenson Button, donned in his pink liveried helmet to commemorate his father’s birthday this weekend, was classified ninth.

Once again in Hungary, it appears that the advantage lies with Mercedes. Can the Silver Arrows continue to dominate during FP2? Join us at 8am ET live on Live Extra and online, or watch the encore on NBCSN at 12pm ET.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski