Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo finished third in Friday’s second free practice session ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, while defending world champion Lewis Hamilton topped the times.
In searing heat, Hamilton, who is seeking a record fifth Formula One win on one of his favourite circuits, recorded a best lap time of one minute and 23.949 seconds to outpace Russian Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat by 0.351 seconds.
The 30-year-old Briton won at the Hungaroring track in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013 and, with four wins, has the same total of victories as seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.
He leads Rosberg by 17 points in the 2015 title race.
Kvyat’s lap was an endorsement of Red Bull’s improved showing on the tight, twisty and technical circuit that suited their car.
His teammate, Ricciardo, was half a second adrift to take third ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who struggled to find his usual pace in fourth place.
Ricciardo’s strong performance came in a session that saw him pull off the track with plumes of white smoke pouring from the rear of his car after an apparent engine failure.
The incident caused the session to be red-flagged and halted briefly while the car was cleared out of the way.
Kimi Raikkonen, who had caused a red-flag interruption in the morning session when the front wing of his car fell off, was fifth fastest for Ferrari ahead of Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari and two-time champion Fernando Alonso who was eighth for McLaren.
The two Williams men, Valtteri Bottas and Brazilian Felipe Massa, were ninth and 10th ahead of Dutch teenager Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso and Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, in the second McLaren.
The day had started with a dramatic morning session that, in addition to Raikkonen’s incident, saw Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India survive unhurt and walk away from a spectacular crash.