Red Bull's Ricciardo best in 1st practice for Hungarian GP

At a sun-bathed Hungaroring, Ricciardo reeled off a best lap in one minute and 18.455 seconds to outstrip nearest rival and championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by almost two-tenths of a second.

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.

"To be able to replicate our performance morning and afternoon is good and it shows we are doing well".

The Australian led the way in both of the busy free sessions which were punctuated by three red-flag stoppages as the leading three teams were locked in a tight battle for supremacy.

"We may have a shot at actually fighting for big points this weekend", he said.

"We know this track is one that suits us, so if we can extract every bit of that out of the auto we may have a shot at fighting for big points this weekend, so it has been a good day. I think we've got the package and we have just got to get it in the right envelope".

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Ricciardo finished the session two tenths of a second ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen with a lap of 1:18.486.

However his teammate Max Verstappen struggled to find speed: his best time was good enough for fifth position, but over eight-tenths off the pace.

Fernando Alonso was eighth for McLaren ahead of fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and his McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.

And at the end of the session, Renault's Jolyon Palmer lost control at the exit of the fast uphill kink at Turn Four, bouncing over the kerbs and smashing his front wing to pieces. It was an inauspicious and badly-timed mistake by the Ferrari young driver who, following confirmation the Scuderia will power Sauber in 2018, is likely to be in a fight against GP2 Charles Leclerc to partner Marcus Ericsson at the Swiss-based outfit next year.

"It's been a tricky day with the red flags, but I think we can improve", said Vettel. "Then in qualifying we managed to turn it around". The two Mercedes drivers spent the first half of the session trading fastest laps, until Ricciardo bolted on the super-soft tire and went on a run of consecutive quick laps.

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