ferrari-logo-2011Hungarian GP – Desert heat, deserted pit lane

Hungaroring, 26 July – With an uneven number of races on this year’s calendar – 19 – this tenth round of the season, the Hungarian Grand Prix, is as near as one can get to an actual halfway point. It is also the final round before the summer break, but there is certainly no sense of the holiday starting early, as there is plenty going on here on the outskirts of Budapest.

To start with, this is the first race at which Pirelli has brought its new tyres, with the 2012 construction and the 2013 compounds, having had a chance to test them with ten of the eleven teams, including the Scuderia, in Silverstone last week. It was surprisingly hot in England for the three days, but not when compared to the furnace that is the middle of land-locked Hungary in the height of summer. Therefore, for all teams, assessing the performance of the Medium and Soft compounds has been an important part of the day’s work: with a good grid position vital on this sinuous track, getting the best out of them for tomorrow’s qualifying was a priority, but one matched by the need to ensure they also work well over a long run for Sunday afternoon. Add in the usual tasks of assessing new parts and generally working on set-up and it made for hot times, in all senses of the word in the Prancing Horse garage.

Initial signs seem positive, with 56 trouble free laps each for Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, as they ended the day in fourth and fifth places on the final time sheet respectively.

Quickest in both sessions were the Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and this afternoon, third fastest was Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. Behind the Brazilian Ferrari driver, Lewis Hamilton completed the top six for Mercedes.

The pit lane looked strangely deserted today, as a result of a new rule banning media from it during sessions, following the incident at the Nurburgring, when a wheel came off Mark Webber’s car as he pulled away from a pit stop and hit a cameraman. The rule was eventually modified, so that a select band were allowed in to send images of the garage action around the world.

Hungarian GP – Hunting for answers

Fernando Alonso: “As usually happens on Friday, today we managed to get an idea of what sort of pace we should see in Sunday’s race. Conditions look like being reasonably stable over the whole weekend and this will help in analysing the times and strategies of the other teams, in order to understand exactly where we are. The type of tyre has not changed, so we can count on last year’s experience and apart from that, they are the same for everyone. To gain an advantage over our rivals, it helps to understand them as well and as quickly as possible. Here, more than at other tracks, starting from the front is extremely important and for this reason I believe that everyone will try and optimise their cars for qualifying, even if it means sacrificing a bit for the race”.
Felipe Massa: “All went well today and we tested everything on the programme, with the car seeming reasonably competitive. Even the long runs produced positive results and that is a very important factor for the rest of the weekend. Now we must decide which of the solutions we tried can be used for qualifying and the race. On this track, it’s really important to start as far up the order as possible and we will do all we can to be in the game. On Sunday, it will be difficult for everyone, as overtaking is almost impossible here and on top of that, they are predicting very high temperatures, which is a factor that needs to be given plenty of consideration when it come to getting the maximum out of our car”.
Pat Fry: “Overall, today was a good day and we managed to get through our entire programme with no problems whatsoever. During the first session and the first part of the afternoon one, we split the programme between the two cars, with the aim of finding the most suitable aerodynamic configuration for this track. The comparisons between the various components and the two compounds made available by Pirelli produced the answers we were looking for and now, with all the data we have from Fernando and Felipe’s cars, we, along with them, can get down to preparing for qualifying and the race”.

ALONSO   – chassis 299 MASSA   – chassis 298
First Session P4 1:23.099 22 laps P15 1:24.299 19 laps
Weather:  air 28/31 °C, track 37/44 °C. Sunny
Second Session P4 1:21.426 34 laps P5 1:21.544 37 laps
Weather:  air 31 °C, track 48/49 °C. Sunny

Hungarian GP – Top 5 for Alonso and Massa

Hungaroring, 26 July – The drivers on track and the guys working in the garage share a common enemy this weekend, namely the heat. In the second free practice session, the Hungarian heatwave slackened off slightly, to 32 and 46 degrees for air and track temperature respectively, but the forecast is for much hotter conditions for Saturday and Sunday. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa got through the afternoon programme, completing 34 and 37 laps respectively. The Spaniard was fourth fastest with a 1.21.426 and the Brazilian was fifth in 1.21.544. Both men started on Medium tyres before switching to the Softs on which they set their best laps.

The two F138s did various practice starts before moving to a long run test, using both types of tyre to help with planning race strategy. Quickest was Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull with a 1.21.264.

Hungarian GP – Something new under the sun

Hungaroring, 26 July – The first free practice session for round 10 of the World Championship, the Hungarian Grand Prix took place, as expected, in incredibly hot conditions with air and track temperatures of 31 and 44 degrees respectively. Quickest around the twisty track, in Mogyorod, on the outskirts of Budapest was Sebastian Vettel in a time of 1.22.723, with his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber next up in 1.22.982. Third was Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus in 1.23.010. Fernando Alonso was the best of the Ferraris, fourth in 1.23.099, while in the other F138, Felipe Massa was fifteenth in 1.24.299. The drivers ran different programmes, taking to the track with different aerodynamic configurations, the first priority being to find the best set-up for qualifying and the race. Both drives used just the Medium Pirelli tyre this morning, ending the session with some practice starts.