30 July, 2017
Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a flying start to the Hungarian GP weekend by setting the fastest time in the first practice session.
Ricciardo has posted five podium finishes in 2017, including a win in Azerbaijan last month.
"I do feel like we have gained some grip in the vehicle", Ricciardo said after Friday's practice runs.
Ricciardo's Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen finished down in sixth, nearly half a second adrift, and pointed to the disrupted nature of the session as an influencing factor in his deficit.
He also led the morning timesheets in 1:18.486, with both his fastest times comfortably inside the race lap record of 1:19.071 set by Michael Schumacher with Ferrari in 2004.
Silver Arrows star Valtteri Bottas, who on Thursday admitted the track is not a favourite for his team, was in third, 0.201secs off the pace, while the second Scuderia of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, 0.300secs behind the early pacesetter. "I genuinely feel we can".
Low grip and gusty conditions caused multiple spins during the morning.
"It's super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it's looking like it will be an exciting weekend", said Hamilton, who can take a record-equalling 68th career pole on Saturday.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes have work to do on the balance of the vehicle.
"If we can maintain this tomorrow it is a B vehicle, so today it certainly behaved more like a B. This morning looked strong, out of the box we were the first one on a green track and basically we kept good pace".
"I was not quite happy with the balance of the vehicle and I was especially struggling with the rear end. I think we've got the package and we have just got to get it in the right envelope".
The Briton - just one point shy of Vettel in the drivers' standings - is confident that a few tweaks will have Mercedes coming out on top, though.
The session was red-flagged with just over 30 minutes of running time when rookie Antonio Giovinazzi, who was deputizing for Kevin Magnussen, lost control of the rear through Turn 12 and slammed the Haas into the barriers.
With Robert Kubica testing for Renault next week, amid speculation about what once seemed an impossible comeback after the Pole partially severed his forearm in 2011, Palmer needs to do something special.