Leclerc tops Hungary test in Ferrari

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Ferrari-backed youngster Charles Leclerc produced a rapid late effort to edge out McLaren-Honda driver Stoffel Vandoorne on the opening day of Formula 1's second in-season test at the Hungaroring circuit.

Vandoorne, having topped the morning session, improved further in the afternoon, using the Ultra Soft tire to clock a 1:17.834 with around 30 minutes remaining.

However, some five minutes from the checkered flag, Leclerc pumped in a 1:17.746 on Softs, overturning a margin of six-tenths to finish 0.088s up on Vandoorne.

Leclerc, who holds a 50-point title lead in F2, stated over the lunch break that he feels ready for Formula 1, after completing "every possible step" in junior categories.

Valtteri Bottas was third fastest as he worked through 2018 development work for Pirelli, comfortably leading the mileage charts with 155 laps (more than two race distances), despite the intense heat.

Mercedes junior George Russell, who heads the GP3 standings, got his first taste of the W08 en route to fourth overall, having previously tested older machinery.

Leclerc pulls out of pits
Leclerc pulls out of pits

Williams called on Lance Stroll to replace Felipe Massa, who missed the Grand Prix through illness, with the 2017 rookie the second-busiest driver behind Bottas.

Force India split its running between F3 racer Nikita Mazepin (sixth) and DTM title contender Lucas Auer (ninth), the latter getting his first ever outing in an F1 car.

Nicholas Latifi, making his public test debut for Renault, and Sean Gelael, in at Toro Rosso, albeit delayed by an apparent engine problem, finished between the Force Indias.

Haas gave development driver Santino Ferrucci another in-season run, following an appearance at Silverstone last year, the American surviving several spins on his way to 10th.

Max Verstappen completed only a handful of laps in the morning, due to an MGU-K issue in his Red Bull, but managed a respectable haul over the afternoon session.

Gustav Malja made his F1 test debut with Sauber and finished at the foot of the 12-strong timesheets, 3.7 seconds away from Leclerc's pace-setting lap.

Formula 1 in-season testing will continue at the Hungaroring on Wednesday.

George Russell – Mercedes
Today was incredible. I have been looking forward to this day for so long. It's every young driver's dream to drive a Formula 1 car. As soon as I got on track, I straightaway understood how much grip and downforce this car has got – it is amazing. 48 hours ago I was driving a GP3 car around the same track, but today was totally different. Luckily for me I had done lots of simulator work with Mercedes, so I knew what to expect. The biggest difference is the power steering in the Formula 1 car, and I could feel that as soon as I got out on track. And the braking potential is enormous. I was expecting the speed on the straight and the downforce in the corners, as everyone does. But I don't think anyone quite understands the braking power of this machine. In GP3 we enter into Turn 1 at about 260 or 270 km/h, braking at the 100 meter board. Today, I was going in at almost 300 km/h, braking 25 meters after what I would do in GP3. Today mostly consisted of longer runs with higher fuel loads. We wanted to see the degradation of the tires, and mainly trying to work for the race simulations. I was quite happy with my performance. For my first time in the car, completing 119 laps and not being far from Valtteri – I'm pretty pleased with that.

Tuesday Results

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps
1. C. Leclerc Ferrari 01:17.746 98
2. S. Vandoorne McLaren 01:17.834 72
3. V. Bottas Mercedes AMG 01:18.732 155
4. G. Russell Mercedes AMG 01:19.231 119
5. L. Stroll Williams 01:19.866 138
6. N. Mazepin Force India F1 01:19.910 52
7. N. Latifi Renault 01:20.302 54
8. S. Gelael Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:20.341 101
9. L. Auer Force India F1 01:20.563 54
10. S. Ferrucci Haas F1 01:21.185 102
11. M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 01:21.228 58
12. G. Malja Sauber 01:21.503 108

Leave a Reply