An update from Free Practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Bulls take to the Hungaroring.
The Hungaroring itself is sometimes described as ‘Monaco without the walls’. That’s not entirely helpful given that the walls are largely what gives Monaco its character. What’s left is a tight, sinuous track demanding high downforce and good traction, not offering much in the way of overtaking opportunities – and this indeed is mimicked at the Hungaroring.
Drivers tend to very much enjoy the circuit when driving against the clock in qualifying, less so during the race, which can become a little processional. Think of it as a go-kart circuit scaled up to F1 size. That said, Hungary is often a better race than the circuit suggests, and more so since Pirelli arrived with high-deg tyres to introduce an element of strategy into proceedings.
Free Practice One got underway at the Hungaroring with the threat of rain looming heavily on the radar. The heavy deluge didn’t materialise during the first session though and there was plenty of running on slick tyres.
Max managed 29 laps with a best time of 1:17.398 for P2. Meanwhile Pierre completed 25 laps with a best time of 1:17.682 for P4.
Conditions were much the same as Free Practice Two got going in Hungary. The session was red flagged momentarily when Alexander Albon hit the wall at the final corner but the action quickly resumed.
The rain eventually did start to pick up which slowed things down as the surface became too wet for slicks. Both Bulls finished the session on the intermediate tyre.
Pierre completed 16 laps in the tricky conditions with the best time of the session a 1:17.854 for P1. Meanwhile, Max managed 12 laps with a best time of 1:17.909 for P2.
In Saturday's Free Practice Three, the top three on the timesheets were covered by less than a tenth of a second with MaxP2 with a 1:16.097 in between the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. A 1:16.684 put Pierre Gasly in P6.
First Practice Session: 1:17.682,Position: 4, Laps: 25
Second Practice Session: 1:17.854, Position: 1, Laps: 16
“We have a strong car and the package seems to be working well in both the dry and the wet, but we can’t take many conclusions from today with the mixed conditions. I was happy with the car in both sessions, even if we didn’t do many laps, but it’s too early to see where we stand. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the weather tomorrow but it could be really unpredictable like today with more tricky conditions. I think as expected Mercedes are really fast and we probably didn’t see Ferrari’s true pace so we’ll find out tomorrow what we can fight for, but the battle with Ferrari will be pretty tight.”
First Practice Session: 1:17.398,Position: 2, Laps: 28
Second Practice Session: 1:17.909, Position: 2, Laps: 12
“I think it was a good day for us and although Mercedes seem to be a little bit ahead we’re very close which is positive. We learnt a lot this morning during the dry running and the car was competitive straight away. We were then able to make lots of changes, some worked and some didn’t, but that is what practice sessions are for and you have to see if you can improve the balance before deciding on one direction. The car seemed to work well in both wet and dry conditions, which is very positive. Tomorrow is a new day but it all looks pretty close so it should be an interesting qualifying.”