Esteban Ocon underwent a slow start in his opening day of running at the Hungaroring, but the Alpine charger was in the mix among the top-five in FP2.
The scorching conditions that prevailed on Friday in Budapest coupled with track temperatures that approached a sizzling 60° C challenged drivers and put a heavy strain on tyres.
Ocon clocked in P11 in the first practice session, but the Frenchman's low fuel run on Pirelli's soft compound in the afternoon workout positioned the Alpine driver a promising fourth.
"It was a good Friday practice overall," commented Ocon. "The conditions were very tricky with the heat, which must be a record here. I’ve never seen track temperatures above 60C in my career!
"It’s very challenging to deal with the warm temperatures and having to manage the tyres, brakes and the car is a big exercise.
"Understanding all of that is key, but it looks like it will be much cooler tomorrow. Today we were competitive, and the car felt decent on the one lap we did on Softs.
"It’s a positive start to the weekend, I enjoy driving here, but tomorrow we have to keep working hard for qualifying, which we know is an important session at this track."
On the other side of the Alpine garage, Fernando Alonso suffered a high-speed spin in the opening laps of FP1 but otherwise enjoyed a steady day's work that he concluded where he had started, in P7.
"Obviously the Hungaroring is a very different type of circuit to Silverstone, and you really need to adapt to these low speed corners and the amount of action around a lap," noted the Spaniard.
"We tested a few different things on the car, some of which were thinking about these very high temperatures in Budapest.
"We don’t have a perfect balance yet so we will have to do a lot of work tonight, but we are getting close, so overall it’s a productive day."
Alpine racing director Davide Brivio took a cautious approach to his driver's positions in the running order, warning that there could be a change of conditions come Saturday.
"The final results are good, but it is difficult to read much into the classifications today, especially as the weather may change tomorrow," said the Italian.
"So, for now, we need to keep our heads down, keep working, have a good qualifying and keep ourselves focused."