Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo topped both of Friday’s practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. In FP1, the Australian was two-tenths faster than the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and in FP2, he was a tenth ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull look strong
Red Bull was expected to be in a strong position this weekend as the Hungaroring suits their aero package and the circuit isn’t power or high speed in its nature. We know Red Bull were targeting this weekend as a place which suits their car and there are appearing in good form.
They will want a good qualifying as they know that overtaking on this circuit is difficult. This means that Ricciardo has the confidence this weekend, he said “If we can maintain this tomorrow it is a B car, so today it certainly behaved more like a B. This morning looked strong, out of the box we were the first one on a green track and basically we kept good pace.”
“Even the long runs were strong, and this afternoon we were able to replicate that with an even hotter track.”
Sauber and Ferrari reach Engine deal
Sauber has agreed on a new deal with their engine supplier Ferrari to continue working with them in a new ‘multiyear’ agreement. The news comes the day after the team cancelled their deal with Honda.
The new deal will see the Swiss team receive the ‘latest power unit specification’ – a change from the 2017 status quo, with Sauber currently using year-old Ferrari power units in their C36.
“I am very pleased to confirm that we will continue to work with Scuderia Ferrari as our engine supplier in form of a multi-year agreement,” Sauber’s new team principal Frederic Vasseur said.
“The shared experience between the Sauber F1 Team and Ferrari has built a strong foundation, which will allow us to move forward swiftly and efficiently, also in terms of the development of the 2018 car.
Mercedes on the back foot (maybe)
Mercedes finished off the pace though both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas did lead in either session early on. But when it got down to the running when the track rubbers in they lost out. We always say take the Mercedes running with a little pinch of salt as they don’t normally show their real pace early on.
Hamilton said after FP2, he expects that Red Bull will be in the mix this weekend. He also didn’t do a fast lap on the fastest tyre compound in that session.
So how it unfolds we will need to wait and see for qualifying and that should help us understand whether Mercedes are carrying the momentum we have seen in recent races.
There seems as if there is no end in sight for Renault Jolyon Palmer. In FP1, he broke his front wing after running over the kerb at Turn Four which scattered debris over the circuit.
He told Sky Sports “As you do, you run a bit wide there and suddenly, that kerb is massive. People have been running wide there for years so you don’t expect it to destroy the front of the car.”
Asked what had changed this year, he replied: “There is a bigger drop now to try and stop you going off and getting an advantage. It is a lot more severe than it has ever been before.”
FP2 things got worse as he slammed his Renault into the barrier at the final corner. Palmer car snapped on him, but he catches the snap but the car just carried on going forward into the barrier.
This is not what he needs as there are these rumours will continue about Robert Kubica replacing him from Spa. Renault do of course denies that but I feel the feeling in the paddock is that next week’s test maybe a step towards that.
Antiono Giovinazzi crashed out in FP1. The Italian carried speed into turn eleven, lock up which sent him into a spin. Then he just slid across the track after losing grip, but the cross wind didn’t help him as it would have carried him further across the track.
He said “We still don’t know to be honest, I had a few laps and to be honest the lap time was already quite good. Then I just lost the car with an aggressive step oversteer on entry.
“I think we had a problem but we still don’t know, we’re checking the data, I hope we can find it soon. For sure, I felt something from my side, because I lost the car too easily, I had a big snap on the entry. But we need to check.”
We have said that this weekend is a key target for McLaren to have a good result as the Hungaroring plays to the weaknesses of the Honda power unit. In FP1 Fernando Alonso was seventh with team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne eighth and in FP2 Alonso was eighth and Vandoorne was tenth.
McLaren will be happy with that and they will be looking to get into the top ten this weekend. They have performed well here, but in FP2 they had a mechanical issue. Alonso said “It was a good day; even though it’s always difficult on a Friday to get a clear picture, we’re more or less where we thought we would be.”
“We’re a little bit more competitive here than we were in the last couple of races, and it feels better to be able to potentially fight for Q3 and for a top-10 finish.
Vandoorne said “we had a problem with the MGU-H but it didn’t really matter because the PU I was using was already at the end of its mileage and we were going to fit another engine anyway, so luckily we’ll have no penalties.”
“I feel comfortable in the car, even though it’s still not 100% there yet, and I’m confident we can take a step forward tomorrow”
Qualifying tomorrow appears once again to be a battle between the Mercedes, Ferrari’s and Red Bulls. but we have said that a lot lately only for Mercedes to steal pole. Mercedes I feel do the normal trick of turning their cars up on Saturday and that gives them the edge.
McLaren is expected to do well as we said the circuit masks the underperforming engine and the could fight their way into the top ten.