The Friday in F1 Hungarian GP was relatively calmer as Ferrari showed more pace than Red Bull, whereas McLaren joined the fray too.
The Friday in F1 Hungarian GP at Hungaroring went relatively calm and sedate with minor offs, as Ferrari set the pace ahead of Red Bull in dry conditions. Even though rain is expected for Saturday, the practice results puts the Italian outfit ahead for now.
Carlos Sainz was fastest in FP1 but lost some pace in FP2 due to set-up changes, while teammate Charles Leclerc picked it up in the second session. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was down on pace in both the sessions where he had balance troubles mostly.
His teammate Sergio Perez was way behind as he focused on trying to understand the car more and go through different set-ups. Even though Red Bull looked a bit vulnerable and McLaren finding some pace, the former still is ahead overall.
Lando Norris was second in FP2 as both he and Daniel Ricciardo were comfortably in the Top 10 in both the sessions. They certainly had better pace than Mercedes and in some ways from Alpine too, with whom they are fighting for fourth in the standings.
Leclerc: “It’s been a very productive day, changed quite a lot of things on the car on my side. FP1 was quite tricky, FP2 we took the right road so confident that we did the right work for Sunday. It looks like it’s going to rain tomorrow so we have to be on top of this and obviously put the tyres in the right window, which is always a difficult thing whenever it’s raining. This will be our main priority, but hopefully if we manage to put them in the right window, we will still have this advantage.”
Verstappen: “A bit tricky as expected around here. Just trying to find a balance from high to low speed. Sometimes it worked a bit better, sometimes a bit more tricky but a bit of work to do. I think [Ferrari] are a bit ahead of us. I think it will be hard for us to beat that. But I think overnight we will try to close the gap as much as we can and see what the weather will give us as well tomorrow… I think in the dry we can’t compete, so maybe in the rain we can, who knows? “They looked of course competitive – but, of course, our main target is Ferrari.”
Hamilton: “The car’s a bit of a struggle today. It’s crazy how it swings so much from track to track. But just head up, just trying to figure out how we can get the car working at the moment. At the moment it’s a little bit loose and it’s not doing what we want it to do. So, a difficult day. Nothing’s changed on the car since last week. Same driver this week as I was last week! But for some reason, this track, it’s not working as well, but I think once we get it right, the gap’s about the same as last week, so around a second. I didn’t get to do a run at the end because I had some damage,” said Hamilton, who was seen running wide twice at Turn 4 during FP2. “Sustained some damage on my floor so lost a lot of downforce, and after that it was pretty tricky for the long-run pace. So it’s going to be a tough weekend that’s for sure. We’ll give it everything and see what we’ve got.”
Norris: “It is good. I think the car is just performing very well from the off, it’s performed well, I’ve felt comfortable. I think today is a little more of an over-show of our performance just because we’ve turned up more than what other people have, we are definitely not fighting for Ferrari and Red Bull positions, but we seem in a good place. I’m not too sure about the long run positions, I haven’t had a look yet, but things are maybe a little bit ahead of where we were in Paul Ricard, which is a good thing. It’s still just Friday, the weather is meant to change tomorrow, so we have to wait and see. But things at the minute are a little bit better than what they were, so that’s a positive. Regarding kerbs thing, it’s just better not damage it just in case, with the rain and stuff tomorrow. Just being cautious. But, like we said, I think what I said yesterday. Today and this weekend we’ve just managed to analyse a lot of the stuff from last week, with the new floor and new bits. And also with this track we’ve managed to place the car in a more optimised position, so it can perform better and sit more where it wants to sit. Basically, it’s more that than just being a bit safer with the parts, but yes, it’s feeling pretty reasonable.”
The Top 10 also featured the Alpine pair with Fernando Alonso making it in twice, while Esteban Ocon dropping a bit in FP2. On the other hand, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll ended up just outside Top 10 in FP1, but Vettel made it in, in FP2.
The duo are running a new rear wing with armchair style endplate which has raised some eyebrows. It seemed to be working a bit since they found themselves ahead in the field. In the mix was also Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas who made it in the Top 10 in FP2.
He missed FP1 after Robert Kubica got another chance to drive the car which had some updates. Talking about it, Haas brought quite the changed car termed as ‘white Ferrari’ but timing wise they were down the field as they tried to understand the changes.
Alonso: “It was a productive Friday today and we tried a few different things in terms of the car set-up. The weather looks very changeable tomorrow and Sunday, so who knows what we will be facing, but we gathered some good data and ran a smooth programme in both practice sessions. The car felt quite good and enjoyable to drive, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
Vettel: “On the face of it, our pace today looked quite good – our long runs were quite competitive, and I think we did a solid job as a team, but the car is still quite difficult to drive. We have recently struggled to qualify in dry conditions so I am optimistic that tomorrow’s expected heavy rain will provide us with an opportunity. I love driving this circuit and I really hope that the weather does not stop us putting on a show for the fans tomorrow.”
Bottas: “I had FP2 to get a bit of a feel for the car and the updates we are bringing for this race. I think we’ve made a step forward in terms of grip, we are moving in the right direction: the midfield is going to be as close as always, so every little improvement can give you an edge. I know there’s a lot more to come from my side, so I am satisfied with what we did today, it wasn’t a bad start. Tomorrow may be a very different day when it comes to the weather, but we did work to prepare for all conditions. Overall, the balance of the car is not bad so I think we’re in a good place for Sunday.”
Magnussen: “It felt quite smooth really. We had no issues with it and the feeling in the car was pretty good. It was basically more or less what we expected, so I’m happy with that. There’s going to be more work to do to extract more out of it and that’s going to come in time and so far, it’s been going well. We hope to move further up the grid tomorrow and it looks like it’s going to be wet, so that’s going to be a curveball.”
Another team to lose their way a bit was AlphaTauri, who couldn’t make it in the Top 10. Both Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda admitted of lacking pace, especially from what they had in France. It was somewhat same for the Williams F1 pair too.
Gasly: “I was pretty happy with my lap and managed to put a good one together in FP2. In terms of performance, we are not there yet. We are sliding too much, so we will have to see what we can change by tomorrow to be faster. There isn’t a massive issue with the balance, and I felt like I was really on the limit, putting a clean lap together, but the time does not seem to reflect that, so we will need to analyse it tonight. Based on the forecast it will be wet tomorrow for Qualifying, which are conditions I enjoy driving in. Hopefully we find some solutions to improve the car, but a bit of rain wouldn’t be a bad thing for us.”
Albon: “We didn’t really do a proper short run and we had to cut the race run short, so it was not a smooth session today, but anyway we will go into tomorrow fresh. It’s likely to be wet, so it’ll be a bit of a reset for everyone and I don’t think today will hurt us too much.”
Here’s how F1 Hungarian GP FP1 panned out
Here’s how F1 Hungarian GP FP2 panned out