Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fastest on the first day of the second in-season test at the Hungaroring.
The Frenchman set his fastest lap in the final moments of the afternoon going eight-thousandths of a second faster than the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne with Mercedes Valtteri Bottas third.
Vandoorne’s fastest lap was set on the ultrasofts which are normally faster than the softs which Leclerc set his best time on.
Leclerc who leads the Formula Two championship and finished fourth in both races at the Hungarian Grand Prix, will be looking to gain a seat with Sauber next season.
As ever, testing often proves slightly irrelevant during testing due to unknown fuel loads, engine modes and a host of new parts on every car.
He told Sky Sports “I love the car. I feel ready, it’s quite a big step but I don’t think there are any more steps l need to do before coming to Formula One.”
Despite Vandoorne being second, McLaren still had their problems. The car stopped out on track just before the lunch break, causing a red flag, but returned later in the afternoon to set a 1m17.834s on the ultrasoft tyre.
McLaren had brought updates for this test, but it was a water leak which brought his morning to an end. That meant the team spent much of the lunch break and the early afternoon fixing his car.
The Belgian had been testing a number of chassis upgrades on the MCL32.
Bottas was half a second ahead of his Mercedes team-mate George Russell, who drove the Mercedes for the first time while carrying out tyre development for tyre supplier Pirelli. Mercedes proved reliability is the team strong point as both drivers managed to complete well over a hundred laps.
The aim for Pirelli this week is to finalise the construction of tyres for 2018, this needs to be confirmed by the end of the month. The Finns times are irrelevant for Mercedes, as they are not allowed to test new parts on the second car.
Before the Lunchbreak, it was Vandoorne who set the pace from Bottas. Williams replaced Felipe Massa for this week’s test, but his team-mate Lance Stroll replaced him after he became unwell during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Canadian completed 137 laps on his way to fifth place with him finishing two seconds off the pace.
Force India split the driving between Nikita Mazepin and DTM driver Lucas Auer. Mazepin was seventh and Auer who drove during the afternoon finished ninth fastest. The Toro Rosso of Sean Gelael splitting the pair
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, encountered engine trouble and he only could manage fifty-eight laps on his way to eleventh. That put him behind Haas’s test driver Santino Ferrucci, with the American doing over a hundred laps finishing thirteenth.
During the latter part of the afternoon, the focus shifted to the impending return of Robert Kubica on Wednesday.
The Pole under went his seat fitting at Renault, before he gets his first experience of a 2017 car after two tests in modified Renaults as his remarkable journey towards a possible comeback continues.
Times at close:
- Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:17.746 – 98 laps
2. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 1:17.834 – 72 laps
3. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:18.732 – 155 laps (Tyre test)
4. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.231 – 119 laps
5. Lance Stroll – Williams – 1:19.866 – 137 laps
6. Nikita Mazepin – Force India – 1:19.910 – 52 laps
7. Nicholas Lafiti – Renault – 1:20.302 – 53 laps
8. Sean Gelael – Toro Rosso – 1:20.341 – 101 laps
9. Lucas Auer – Force India – 1:20.563 – 52 laps
10. Santino Ferrucci – Haas – 1:21.185 – 100 laps
11. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:21.228 – 57 laps
12. Gustav Malja – Sauber – 1:21.503 – 108 laps