F1: Ricciardo Tops Tricky Friday Practices in Hungary

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Daniel Ricciardo arrived in Budapest in style on Friday, putting his Red Bull on top all day long ahead of the Ferraris and Mercedes.

Despite sitting a steady third in the constructors championship, Red Bull topped the all the timing sheets today on the tight and twisty Hungaroring Circuit, which aerodynamically favoured the RB-13 chassis.

Ricciardo finished two tenths ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who led the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in 3rd, just ahead of Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in 4th. Valtteri Bottas finished 5th behind Verstappen while current championship leader and 2015 Hungarian GP winner Sebastian Vettel could only manage 6th.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from the McLaren garage, where both drivers finished in the top ten, Fernando Alonso taking 7th and Stoffel Vandoorne taking 8th.

Rounding out the top 10 were the two Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer in 9th and 10th, though Palmer  had a crash late into the session that prompted a red flag to end FP1.

But Palmer was not the only driver to make acquaintance with the walls. Ferrari development driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who was running in Kevin Magnussen’s Haas VF-17, suffered a large shunt early into the first practice session. This saw the Haas team skip their lunch in order to repair Magnussen’s car for the afternoon session.

When the second practice session of the day came around, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was on top once again, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

At the beginning of the session, Vettel, Bottas, and Hamilton traded the top of the timesheets as the times tumbled. Drivers ran the soft compound tyre first with Hamilton on top but when the drivers made the switch to the supersoft tyre, Ricciardo took full advantage.

When it came to the important data for qualifying and the race, Bottas was quickest on the race runs on the soft tyres but Ricciardo led the way on heavy fuel on the super-soft tyre.

The top 3 teams occupied the top 6 spots on the timesheets with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg ‘best of the rest’ in 7th ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne. Vandoorne was left crawling back to the pits after a potential mechanical issue.

Arguably McLaren’s best Friday of the year, both drivers were inside the top 10 in FP1 and FP2. The Hungaroring has suited the Mclaren team over the past few years with Alonso’s 5th place in 2015 and 7th place last year, and the trend seems to have continued this year. 

The session was halted twice after two separate incidents for Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer both crashing out. Wehrlein crashed heavily at turn 11, wrecking his C35. Within 10 minutes later, Palmer had his crash at the final corner.

Both Williams’s drivers of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll struggled with tyre grip ,running wide and spinning out. Eventually finishing 14th and 15th.

Haas’s Kevin Magnussen sat out most of the session due to the American outfit having to rebuild his car after reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi crashed in the morning session, but he still managed to finish ahead of his teammate on the timing sheets. 

Formula 1 action resumes at the Hungaroring tomorrow morning with Free Practice 3, ahead of Qualifying in the afternoon. Follow all the action live on @essaarLIVE.