It was back to a normal Friday in F1 Hungarian GP, where Mercedes looked a bit better than Red Bull, while the midfield is packed again.
After the debacle in Silverstone, the F1 circus were back in action at Hungaroring for Hungarian GP, where Mercedes edged itself ahead at the end of Friday, where Valtteri Bottas led his teammate Lewis Hamilton in both the sessions.
Bottas was fastest in FP2, whereas Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was in FP1. Despite his quick time, the Dutchman had balance issues pretty much, where he talked of understeer and oversteer both. The usual remedies didn’t work for the team, as well.
There was one bright spot, as Honda managed run the Silverstone power unit albeit a bit down on power, but with no troubles. Even with his issues, Verstappen hung with the Mercedes duo, who felt good, but were cautious about Red Bull’s pace too.
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was a bit down in FP1, but recovered in FP2 – although he still lost to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. However, the Mexican noted of traffic in both his quick laps, adding that he feels there is more pace on one lap and for the race.
Hamilton: “To see Valtteri and I at the top of the timesheets this afternoon is pleasing, it’s great for the team and we’ll only improve on that. We have some work to do tonight to see how we can finesse the car some more. You can’t plan for the rain, it’s so unpredictable so you just try and get the car in the best place, understand the tyres, and set the car up for a dry Qualifying and if it rains, it rains. I’m optimistic because I definitely think we can improve the car balance-wise and if we can do that, we should be there ready to fight.”
Verstappen: “I mean it’s nothing too big to overcome, just in general it’s not been an easy day with track temperatures like this, so we’ll analyse everything. There were a few adjustments we were trying from FP1 to FP2 so just need to look into which things worked, which things didn’t. We still need to improve especially over one-lap and also long run, so a lot of things to look into. But nothing shocking.”
The battle behind was pretty stacked up with Alpine, AlphaTauri, McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari, certainly too close to each other. It wasn’t the usual two F1 outfits – McLaren and Ferrari – fighting, but the other three teams had good pace, as well.
While Ferrari dipped a bit in hotter conditions in FP2, the rest of them remained around the order they were in FP1. Alpine’s Ocon ended up in the Top 5 in FP2, whereas Fernando Alonso was in the Top 10 in both the sessions, despite not having the perfect balance.
For Ocon, it was continuation of his revamped form at Silverstone to Hungaroring. The Frenchman felt pretty good all-through, without the balance issues Alonso talked about. At the same time, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was in the Top 10 in both the F1 sessions.
He was particularly pleased with his fightback from Silverstone, where he struggled pretty much. He was, though, surprised by the pace of Alpine, with him he is fighting for in the constructors’ standings. Teammate Yuki Tsunoda did not have a pretty run, though.
He noted that in trying to improve in the high-speed corners and match Gasly, he lost control, which damaged his car eventually. Moving onto Aston Martin, Lance Stroll was another to make it in the Top 10 in both the F1 sessions, while Sebastian Vettel did in FP2.
The German said he left a bit of margin and can be a bit more quicker, while Stroll felt good with his run after Silverstone troubles. Another to make it in the Top 10 was McLaren’s Lando Norris, who naturally wished to be higher up than he was, eventually.
Teammate Daniel Ricciardo ended up outside the Top 10, but not far off Norris. The duo and in particular the latter was left a bit concerned about the pace of their F1 rivals, especially the teams who are behind them in the constructors’ standings.
Norris reckoned it was their toughest FP2 where they did not manage to extract much pace, even if they keep aside the fact that the car is not suited as much to the low and medium speed corners. Ricciardo felt better in the afternoon, but still not 100%.
Interestingly, Ferrari were in a scratch your head mode too, after showing good pace in FP1 and losing it in FP2. The hotter temperatures did not work in their favour, where the tyres became a bit hard to use and extract pace from.
Tsunoda: “I’m really disappointed with that I made a mistake in FP1 and it meant that I’ve lost more than a session’s worth of running. The rear of the car felt very nervous, especially in high-speed corners, and I was losing a lot of time there compared to Pierre. I was trying to improve in those areas, but I lost control of the car and I went into the wall.
“Unfortunately, the gearbox was damaged, and the team had to work really hard to get my car ready for the afternoon. The mechanics did a really good job getting the car fixed before the end of the session, so I was able to get one push lap in during FP2. It was really helpful for both the engineers and I to get this, so we can review the data tonight.”
Norris: “We’re still there or thereabouts comparing to the competitors – it’s not like we’re a long way off the pace. We have some things to work on, some things to focus on, and we’ll try again. I reckon it’s been one of our tougher FP2s. We’re not amazing normally in FP2 but we never struggle quite as much as this, the gap to Alpine was pretty big. So I think getting into Q3 is the main one, particularly as it’s a very qualifying-dominated track.
“Alpine were very fast, AlphaTauri were very fast. Ferrari were maybe a little bit slower than we were expecting – I thought they’d be very fast here – so I don’t know. Even we were expecting to be a bit better. The conditions are very different to what they were last year, it was much colder last year, the tarmac was still a bit fresher and newer.
“It changes, it’s never the same, and we’ll sit down and try to understand why and try to make some improvements because of that. It’s not simple. The car’s on the limit both front and rear, so it’s like ‘which one do you really want to focus on?’. So I’ll sit down with my guys and girls and we’ll go through our homework and see where we can find that last bit of lap time. Like I said, we’re there or thereabouts, we’ve just got a little bit of homework.”
Sainz: “It was a bit of a strange one. I guess in FP1 we were quite happy with how everything went then FP2 was a bit of a weird one because the car didn’t feel any worse, or it didn’t feel particularly bad, it’s just that the others managed to be improved. As with an even hotter track temperature we went a bit backwards. Something there to analyse. Something there to look into. Hopefully by tomorrow there looks like a risk of rain and a bit of cloud coverage and all of a sudden everything can mix up again.
“Unfortunately, before coming here we knew we had some weaknesses in our package and in our car; we knew in certain corners it was not going to be particularly good. We could prove that today; I mean in Monaco we would never be P11, P10 in a practice session and today unfortunately as soon as something went in the wrong direction, we found ourselves out of the top 10. So it shows we are a lot more vulnerable in this sort of track.”
Behind the midfield runners, Alfa Romeo were a bit off with Kimi Raikkonen only running in FP2, where he was chasing a good set-up. At the same time, Antonio Giovinazzi had an issue in FP1, which kept him in the garage, while FP2 saw his fastest lap time getting deleted, which is why he was only 19th.
For Williams, the hotter temperatures did not help, but George Russell and Nicholas Latifi were closely matched and reckoned that Q2 is possible. At the same time, it was the usual data gathering work for the Haas duo, where Nikita Mazepin suffered a puncture which ruined his qualifying trim.
Staying with F1 news, it announced a new deal with Best Water Technology, where the company became its ‘Water Technology Partner’. This comes in line with the sport’s efforts towards sustainability and eradication of single-use plastic from the paddock.
The pink branding of BWT will be seen more in the F1 paddock, where the company will provide its patented water solution technologies to the community, which includes Paddock Club and the Paddock. They will provide reusable water bottles to all visiting.
BWT is also to provide water stations, where the reusable bottles can be filled. “Just in time for the Hungarian Grand Prix we are happy and proud to announce our strategic partnership with F1 – becoming their Official Water Technology Partner. Our innovative and patented water treatment technologies enable Formula 1 to contribute to ‘Change the World – sip by sip’ by using local water resources – filtered and mineralized with valuable minerals and trace elements like magnesium, zinc and silica.
“With BWT Bottle Free Zones we offer Formula 1 a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic bottles, unnecessary plastic-waste, transport as well as CO2 emissions. As the most important worldwide motorsport series, with massive reach, F1 is the perfect platform for us to publicise both our mission and the concept of the Bottle Free Zone to a worldwide audience and urge as many people as possible to join our movement,” summed up Lutz Hubner of BWT.
Here’s how F1 Hungarian GP FP1 panned out
Here’s how F1 Hungarian GP FP2 panned out