Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fastest on the final day of the fourth test of the year at the Hungaroring. The German who won Sundays Hungarian Grand Prix was two-tenths faster than McLaren’s reserve driver Lando Norris with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen third.
Vettel set his fastest time during the morning before handing the car over to Raikkonen, but his lap time couldn’t be bettered by anyone else. That gave Ferrari a total of sixty laps.
Norris set the fastest time that McLaren has done all week setting a 17.3 to split the two Ferrari’s. Norris set his time on the faster ultrasoft tyres while the Ferraris did theirs on the supersofts.
Renault’s Robert Kubica, who drove in his first official test since pre-season testing in 2011, was fourth fastest completing a 142 laps. The Polish driver set a 17.8, just half a second down on Jolyon Palmer’s Hungarian GP qualifying time.
That was almost a second and a half faster than the teams development driver Nicholas Latifi on Tuesday. Kubica spent most of his day on the super-soft tyres, but he did three on the ultra-soft at the end of the day.
Going into the test the eyes were on the Pole as this has been seen as the last major step towards a return to the sport. This will allow the team to compare his performance directly with the teams race drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer.
It also proved that despite five years away and despite his physical limitations, that Kubica can still match the pace set by his fellow drivers. Renault may and probably in the coming days need to move to kill the speculation the French manufacturer is ready to put him back in a Formula One car.
A statement from Kubica said “”It was a fantastic feeling for me to be here today in the R.S.17. It has been an incredible journey to this point, where I have answered many questions to myself. I learnt a lot about the latest generation car, as there are a reasonable amount of differences between it and the Formula 1 cars I have driven in the past.
“The car is certainly wider than before. I was able to work through the team’s programme methodically and I think we made good progress. Certainly, my understanding of the R.S.17 and the 2017 tyres came on a lot. After today, it’s too early to say what the next step might be.”
Toro Rosso spilt the driving between Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kyvat who finished fourth and fifth. The Spaniard going two tenths faster than his team-mate, Kyvat also brought the red flag out, bring his day to an early end.
Force India also spilt the driving between Lucas Auer and Nikita Mazpin, both doing just under fifty laps each on their way to seventh and ninth respectively.
In between was the Mercedes of George Russel started the day running the Halo and completed ninety laps through-out the day before bringing out the red flag.
Pierri Gasly rounded out the top ten ahead of Luca Ghiotto clocked up a staggering 160 laps more than any other driver on what was his first day of testing a F1 car.
Honda’s test driver Nobuharu Matsushita completed 121 laps in the Sauber. Matsushita’s appearance was an ironic one given it was agreed when Sauber and Honda had a partnership in place for 2018 — a contract which both parties severed during last weekend.
1) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:17.124, 40 laps, supersoft tyres;
2) Lando Norris, McLaren, 1:17.385, 91 laps, ultrasoft tyres;
3) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:17.842, 60 laps;
4) Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:18.572, 142 laps, ultrasoft tyres;
5) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:18.850, 68 laps;
6) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:19.116, 54 laps;
7) Lucas Auer, Force India, 1:19.242, 49 laps;
8) George Russell, Mercedes, 1:19.391, 90 laps;
9) Nikita Mazepin, Force India, 1:19.692, 48 laps;
10) Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, 1:20.337, 107 laps;
11) Luca Ghiotto, Williams, 1:20.414, 161 laps;
12) Santino Ferrucci, Haas, 1:20.994; 116 laps;
13) Nobuharu Matsushita, Sauber, 1:21.998, 121 laps.