F1: Leclerc and Ferrari mark their territory in Hungary, Red Bull in retreat

F1: Leclerc and Ferrari mark their territory in Hungary, Red Bull in retreat

After his teammate Carlos Sainz, it was the Monegasque’s turn to set the fastest time during the second practice session in Hungary, this Friday.

“I think the Ferraris are going to be very strong here”: on the first day of testing for the Hungarian F1 GP, Max Verstappen was not mistaken since the Scuderia dominated the competition on Friday, ahead of the Red Bulls behind.

For the first day on the Hungaroring circuit, a few kilometers from Budapest, the best time went to Monegasque Charles Leclerc in 1 min 18 sec 445/1000, 217/1000th ahead of the McLaren of Briton Lando Norris. He is also ahead of his teammate at Ferrari, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who was third on Friday evening and who had first secured the best time in free practice 1 earlier in the day.

The Monegasque mainly kept the Red Bulls at a distance, starting with that of the Dutchman Max Verstappen, solid leader in the championship in front of him, 4th in time on Friday evening. If, for this second practice session, only 52/1000th separate the reigning world champion from Sainz, the Batavian finds himself relegated to 283/1000th from Monegasque. “As expected, it was a bit difficult here today (…) I think the Ferraris will be ahead of us this weekend and it will be difficult to beat them. We will work hard tonight and try to close this gap as much as possible,” said Verstappen.

His Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez – who could snatch second place in the championship from Leclerc on Sunday – set a modest 9th time in free practice 2. “We tried different things to feel comfortable with the car today and I think we have a clear idea and understanding of what’s going on,” he explained.
Rain expected for qualifying

The German Sebastian Vettel, who, at 35, announced Thursday to retire at the end of this season, took the 7th time of the session, behind another veteran of the discipline, the Spaniard Fernando Alonso, 41 years this Friday.

Under a heat (more than 30 degrees on Friday) which in no way foreshadows the weather conditions of the weekend, with rain expected on Saturday for qualifying – before an a priori dry Sunday for the race – Mercedes appears once again more suffering with George Russell only 8th, and Lewis Hamilton, modest 11th at the end of the day. “The car was a bit difficult today,” Hamilton reacted, “it’s crazy how it wobbles from circuit to circuit.” And for good reason, with the same single-seater, the Briton, who holds the record for victories at the Hungaroring, finished second at the French GP last weekend, ahead of his teammate.

Behind, the French Esteban Ocon (Alpine), who had obtained his first victory in Hungary last year in the premier category, signed the 13th time, ahead of the other Frenchman on the grid Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 15th.

After the third hour of testing, from 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, it will be necessary to wait for qualifying at 4:00 p.m. to see the forces present on the Hungaroring, a short and tortuous circuit… not conducive to overtaking. Hence the need to secure pole position.

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