Latifi beats Leclerc in wet final practice in Hungary!

© XPB 

Nicholas Latifi put a big smile on the face of Williams' crews by topping the final practice session in Hungary thanks to a flawless and well-timed lap in the wet conditions.

The Canadian clocked in over half a second clear of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc while Alex Albon added to his Williams team's delight.

The session remained wet from start to finish but changing conditions allowed for the use of the intermediate tyre which led to a raft of improving times and to Latifi's shocker.

In line with yesterday's weather forecast, the Hungaroring was drenched in water mid-day when the final practice session came around, and all signs pointed to an equally wet qualifying later in the day.

After the safety car tested the waters to evaluate track conditions, the green light was on at the end of the pitlane.

While the rain appeared to ease somewhat, only a handful of drivers took to the track at the outset, with a group led by Leclerc and Sainz.

There appeared to be little reason to press on given the conditions, but with qualifying expected to be a wet exercise, there was certainly a few things to learn in terms of lines, driving technique, puddle presence and tyre data.

Progressively, the bulk of the field sprang into action, with the exception of Verstappen, Perez and Hamilton who were in no hurry to leave the comfortable and dry confines of their garage.

Fifteen minutes in, the rain returned with a vengeance, with Ferrari's radar predicting 30 minutes of heavy downpour. But the rainfall eventually eased once again after 15 minutes which encouraged everyone – save Verstappen – to put in a timed lap.

There was little to read into the times, but Leclerc's earlier effort remained unchallenged as the session entered its final 20 minutes.

At that point, drivers deemed that intermediate tyres were worth a try, but cars continued to slip and slide, indicating that the risk was pethaps not yet worth the reward.

Case in point, future F1 retiree Sebastian Vettel, who had just set the third fastest time, found the barriers at Turn 10, a mishap that appeared to inflict some significant damage to the German's Aston Martin and that brought out the red flag with 9 minutes left on the clock.

Previously, Alonso had approached Leclerc's best by 0.206s, but time were anecdotal at the best.

The session resumed with minutes to spare and with conditions improving, Verstappen comfortably overhauled Leclerc.

But a perfectly timed hot lap by Latifi settled the session's score, with the Canadian topping a timesheet in F1 for the very first time in his career.

Latifi edged Leclerc by 0.661s while Albon added to Williams' bragging rights by snapping third. Behind the top three, Verstappen and Russell completed the top five.

"I was wondering if that clapping was for me," Latifi quipped over the radio when congratulated by his team on his historic personal first. "Yes it was, mate!" came the reply.

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