Nico Rosberg fastest in final practice in Hungary, with Lewis Hamilton fourth

Nico Rosberg fastest in final practice in Hungary, with Lewis Hamilton fourth

Championship leader Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix while his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was only fourth.

Hamilton, who is just one point behind Rosberg in the race for the championship, has endured a rather troubled weekend in his bid to claim a record-breaking fifth win at the Hungaroring, and take control of the title race for the first time this season.

The Briton, 31, apologised to his Mercedes team on Friday night after he crashed out of practice following an uncharacteristic mistake at turn 11.

Hamilton subsequently missed the majority of the 90-minute session as Rosberg soared to the top of the timesheets.

And the German, who has extended his stay with Mercedes until the end of 2018 by signing a new two-year deal, led the way once more on Saturday morning. His best lap of one minute and 20.261 seconds was a hefty half a second faster than that of Hamilton.

Indeed, Rosberg's closest challenge in practice came courtesy of Red Bull. Max Verstappen, the 18-year-old Dutchman, was just two thousandths of a second slower than Rosberg, while Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest.

Heading into the 11th round of the championship - the penultimate grand prix before Formula One's summer break - Mercedes had warned that the low-speed nature of the Hungaroring would suit Red Bull, and there pace here suggests they are in a position to battle the Mercedes for pole later on Saturday.

The Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, a winner in Hungary last year, were fifth and sixth fastest respectively while Fernando Alonso was seventh for McLaren. His team-mate Jenson Button was 12th in the order.

British rookie Jolyon Palmer hoped Sunday's race will provide his best chance of opening his points-scoring tally in the sport, and after he failed to complete any meaningful running on Friday following a fuel pressure issue, he was an impressive 10th in final practice.

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