Formula 1 Pirelli Magyar Nagydíj 2015 – Free Practice 1 & 2

Hungaroring, Budapest
Friday 24 July 2015

MERHI │ Chassis 03 FP2 P17 1:29.113 29 laps
STEVENS │ Chassis 02 FP1 P18 1:29.693 17 laps │ FP2 P18 1:29.115 28 laps
LEIMER │ Chassis 03 FP1 P19 1:30.631 18 laps

Round 10 of the FIA Formula One World Championship – the Formula 1 Pirelli Magyar Nagydíj 2015 – got underway in hot and sunny conditions this morning at the Hungaroring in Budapest.

For this morning’s session, the team gave Reserve Driver Fabio Leimer his long-awaited first Free Practice 1 opportunity in the MR03B, taking over the reins of Robert’s Merhi’s car alongside Will Stevens. It was a strong showing from the Swiss driver, albeit his progress was hampered by two red flags during the session and the most important news was that Sergio Perez was not hurt in his dramatic accident.

This afternoon, Roberto returned to the cockpit to get his Hungarian Grand Prix preparations underway. In a trouble-free day on both sides of the garage, Roberto quickly made up for lost time to end the day in P17; his teammate just 0.002s adrift in P18.

John Booth, Team Principal
“The past few days have been extremely difficult for our team members, but I am very proud of the way everyone has balanced the enormous sense of loss with the focus required for the start of a Grand Prix weekend. As sad a time as this is for all of us, we have countless happy memories of Jules and remembering those incredible times we shared together is helping us through. One such happy memory is in fact from here at the Hungaroring last year, where Jules had a fantastic qualifying session with an incredible lap securing Q2 contention and an eighth place grid slot. As for this weekend, credit to Roberto, Will and Fabio for two very positive sessions, which have created a solid baseline from which I am sure we can make good progress.”

Roberto Merhi #98
“I only completed FP2 today but I am feeling positive for the weekend. At first I wasn’t comfortable with the settings, but the team made the changes and I was much happier. The qualification simulation was good but I made a few mistakes, so there is more to come. The long run is normally strong for us, but today was not so strong as I couldn’t get the best out of the tyres. Hopefully the track will be cooler on Sunday and I can show more of our true long run pace. ”

Will Stevens #28
“Overall, today has been a good day and I’m pretty pleased. We have gathered a lot of information which we’ll work through overnight. It’s pretty tricky out there with the hot track and ambient temperatures. The long run at the end of FP2 was very encouraging and gives us a direction to go in for tomorrow.”

Fabio Leimer #42
“It was very good to get my first FP1 opportunity with the team and my thanks to them for doing this on a difficult weekend. I was pleased that I was able to get up to speed quite quickly. The car felt good and it was nice to make a very hands-on contribution to the start of our race weekend in terms of feedback to help the team move in a good direction. It’s good to be back at the wheel of a racing car again.”