Hungarian Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap



Event:  Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 (FP1 and FP2) for the Hungarian Grand Prix

Date:  Friday, July 22

Location:  Hungaroring in Budapest

Layout:  4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn circuit

FP1 Weather:  Partly cloudy to sunny, 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Weather:  Mainly sunny, 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit)

Drivers:  Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutiérrez and Charles Leclerc



Grosjean:  9th quick (1:24.013), 22 laps completed

Leclerc:  16th quick (1:25.181), 22 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:21.347)

Most Laps:  Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (34 laps)



Gutiérrez:  11th quick (1:22.673), 38 laps completed

Grosjean:  15th quick (1:22.864), 28 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:20.435)

Most Laps:  Kimi Raikkonen of Scuderia Ferrari (46 laps)



Overnight rain meant a damp start to Friday morning’s opening practice (FP1) for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The familiar heat and humidity of Budapest quickly returned, however, with temperatures rising to 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) as the 90-minute session played out on a greasy, resurfaced Hungaroring circuit.


Charles Leclerc, a 2016 member of the Ferrari Driver Academy who is currently competing in the GP3 Series for ART Grand Prix, returned to the Haas VF-16 Friday at the Hungaroring. The 18-year-old participated in FP1 two weeks ago at the British Grand Prix and he arrived in Hungary with an extra day of Formula One experience to his credit, having tested Scuderia Ferrari’s SF16-H on July 12 during the final in-season test of 2016 at Silverstone Circuit in England.


Leclerc’s FP1 stint on the 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn Hungaroring yielded a total of 22 laps, with his best being a 1:25.181 to place him 16th overall. The quick time came on his 13th lap using a set of Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires. Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutiérrez, a Ferrari Driver Academy alumnus, relinquished his seat to allow Leclerc to obtain valuable Formula One experience. Leclerc will reappear in FP1 sessions July 29 at the German Grand Prix, Sept. 30 at the Malaysian Grand Prix and Nov. 25 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In each session, Leclerc will drive the No. 21 car of Gutiérrez.


Leading the way for Haas F1 Team in FP1 was Romain Grosjean. He clocked the ninth-fastest time with a 1:24.013 on his 16th lap. Grosjean set his quick time on Red supersofts after running a nine-lap stint on Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires.


Atop FP1 was the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The teammates swapped the top spot a handful of times before Hamilton finally came out ahead with a best lap of 1:21.347, which was .237 of a second faster than Rosberg.


Gutiérrez returned to the familiar confines of the Haas VF-16 in FP2. He made a total of 38 laps, with his best time coming on his 14th lap (1:22.673) to place him 11th overall. The Red supersoft was the tire of choice for Gutiérrez’s quick lap, and like Grosjean in FP1, Gutiérrez worked his way toward the Red supersofts after a nine-lap run on Yellow softs. He concluded his session with a 22-lap run, which began on a used set of supersofts before pitting for a used set of softs.


Grosjean bettered his FP1 mark as grip levels increased, setting a time of 1:22.864 during a five-lap qualifying simulation. It was the 15th fastest time among the 22 drivers turning laps in FP2. The quick time came on Grosjean’s ninth lap using a set of supersofts. His FP2 program culminated with a long-distance run, with Grosjean completing 17 laps on a used set of softs.


Rosberg was the fastest driver in FP2, with his quick time of 1:20.435 bettering the next best time of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by .595 of a second. Hamilton ended up fifth on the speed charts, as contact with the barrier at turn 11 ended his time in FP2 after only 13 minutes.


Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 110 laps – 50 by Grosjean, 38 by Gutiérrez and 22 by Leclerc.



“It was a decent day. The morning went well, the afternoon generally well. We didn’t get the best from our single-lap pace, but we’re going to work on setup changes tonight to make the car faster. I’m hoping that tomorrow, top-10 in qualifying is possible. Our first Q3 appearance would be very nice. Overall, I think we’ve had a good day. ”


“It was very straightforward for me this afternoon. I was trying to get the most out of every lap that I had, especially with only one session to prepare for tomorrow. I think in general it was very productive. Charles (Leclerc) managed to get a few laps together this morning and was able to provide some good feedback so that I could have an idea of what to expect. I think we can be happy with today. Obviously, we need to keep working for tomorrow and trying to fine tune everything we have on the car.”



“It’s great to get more mileage and build my confidence in a Formula One car. I jumped from running medium tires up to supersofts straight this morning, which was quite a big step. I had to adapt, but it was good for my experience to feel the difference in these tires. It certainly helps me to know more about the car. We did quite a few laps on the supersofts. Overall, it was a good session. I’m happy. I hope what I achieved has been useful for the team.”

“We had a good, solid FP1 and FP2 with all three drivers. We had a small issue this morning on Charles’ car with the exhaust, but it was fixed quickly in 10 minutes. We really had no big dramas and successfully ran through our program for the day. We need to evaluate the tires more so we can work out our best strategy for Sunday’s race. Otherwise, we’re very happy with everything and look forward to qualifying tomorrow.”



Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (11:00-12:00) before qualifying starts at 14:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 16 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.