What the teams said – Friday in Hungary

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR21 Mercedes


It was a good day for Mercedes, with Bottas in particular impressing. He was fractions behind Verstappen in FP1, before topping the field in the afternoon session. Hamilton was also up there in both sessions, although he did complain about his tyres slightly more than his team mate, particularly the rears. All in all though, it is boding well for the team heading into the weekend, with those upgrades from Silverstone still doing the job and closing the gap to Red Bull.

READ MORE: Bottas says conditions like a ‘Finnish sauna’ as he and Hamilton top Friday practice in Hungary heat

Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:17.722, P3; FP2: 1:17.039, P2

"It was roasting today, I've probably lost 3kg out there and the tyres were melting! To see Valtteri and I at the top of the timesheets this afternoon is pleasing, it's great for the team and we'll only improve on that. We have some work to do tonight to see how we can finesse the car some more. You can't plan for the rain, it's so unpredictable so you just try and get the car in the best place, understand the tyres, and set the car up for a dry Qualifying and if it rains, it rains. I'm optimistic because I definitely think we can improve the car balance-wise and if we can do that, we should be there ready to fight tomorrow and for the race on Sunday."

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:17.616, P2; FP2: 1:17.012, P1

"It felt like being in a Finnish sauna today, especially when you stop mid-runs - it's way more than 60 degrees in the cockpit! It makes it tricky with the tyres overheating but honestly, it didn't feel too bad - a promising start. Recently we've been making improvements and I don't think we're in too bad a place but it's only Practice, you never know what teams are holding back. In FP1 we had work to do with the balance but we made changes quickly and were in better shape for FP2, and no doubt there's still more to come. We'll be in on the fight for pole tomorrow and that's hugely motivating."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"We got off to a fairly difficult start on the Hard tyre this morning as the grip and balance just weren't there. As the day went on we seemed to improve in terms of the timesheets, although we're still finding the balance quite tricky. It may be that it's the same for everyone, the track is at 60°C after all and the tyres are getting really hot which is making the long runs quite difficult. Overall, it is encouraging to see both cars at the top of the timesheets but with a risk of rain it may be a very difficult challenge tomorrow so we cannot take anything for granted."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W12 during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen showed no signs of rust following his Silverstone crash, as he topped FP1 on both the hard compound tyre in the first runs, and also the soft rubber later on. But he couldn’t find the same levels of grip in FP2, complaining about understeer as he trailed his rivals by a couple of tenths. As for Perez, he too struggled with the balance of his RB16B, but did claw his way back up the field to at least finish the day in touching distance of his team mate.

READ MORE: Verstappen says Red Bull have ‘a lot to look into’ after ending Friday three-tenths off Mercedes

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:17.555, P1; FP2: 1:17.310, P3

“In general, it was not an easy day on track today, we had a few adjustments that we were working on from FP1 and FP2 that we need to look into, seeing what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of things to analyse this evening but there’s nothing too big to overcome so I’m not worried. The track was very hot today, but it looks like there’s a bit of rain coming so that should make things interesting and I’m looking forward to it.”

Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:18.466, P8; FP2: 1:17.824, P5

“The car felt good over the longer and shorter runs today. I think there’s definitely time to be found, I was caught in some traffic during both sessions so I think there is still plenty to play for in qualifying tomorrow. With the weather conditions predicted to change over the weekend, there is a bit of an unknown, it may benefit some more than others so we will have to wait and see what happens. We’ve made good steps and we have a good idea about what we need to do before qualifying to make improvements, so I am optimistic for the rest of the weekend.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


The Ferrari drivers sounded quietly optimistic yesterday that this track might suit their car and certainly seemed to back that up in FP1, with Sainz in the ‘best of the rest’ slot of P4. In the afternoon, both drivers were content to concentrate on race pace and so tumbled down the order, but it was still a composed opening day for the Scuderia.

READ MORE: Sainz prays for rain after Ferrari left ‘vulnerable’ to heat in ‘strange’ Friday at Hungaroring

Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:18.391, P7; FP2: 1:18.370, P11

"It was a good day. We went through our planned programme and I was quite happy with how I felt in the car. The conditions changed slightly from FP1 to FP2, but we did a good job in both the qualifying and race simulations. What we need to focus on the most is our qualifying performance. It will be quite tricky to overtake, so we have to be a bit stronger here on Saturday than we have been recently at some of the other circuits. It was very warm today, and all of us had to adapt to the heat in our cars. But the temperature can also affect other things, such as tyre management. It looks like the weather could be variable for the rest of the weekend, which could mix things up again."

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:18.115, P4; FP2: 1:18.441, P12

"Today was a tricky Friday. FP1 was a decent session but FP2 proved to be a bit more complicated. The car didn’t feel any worse, but while the others managed to improve, we went backwards. This is something to analyse before tomorrow, when there is some risk of rain and things could get interesting."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Ferrari SF21 during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


After celebrating his 40th birthday yesterday, Alonso could be excused the one mistake in FP1 when he took too much kerb in Turn 4 and lost the rear, spinning onto the grass. That aside he looked quick at a circuit he last won at in 2003. As for Ocon, he wasn’t content to be overshadowed by his team mate all day, grabbing a very decent P4 in the second session as he finished within touching distance of the top teams.

READ MORE: Ocon aiming to carry Friday form into Hungary qualifying after finishing FP2 in P4

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:18.765, P11; FP2: 1:17.759, P4

“It was a good Friday practice overall. The conditions were very tricky with the heat, which must be a record here. I’ve never seen track temperatures above 60C in my career! It’s very challenging to deal with the warm temperatures and having to manage the tyres, brakes and the car is a big exercise. Understanding all of that is key, but it looks like it will be much cooler tomorrow. Today we were competitive, and the car felt decent on the one lap we did on Softs. It’s a positive start to the weekend, I enjoy driving here, but tomorrow we have to keep working hard for qualifying, which we know is an important session at this track.”

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:18.385, P6; FP2: 1:18.169, P7

“It was an OK day. Obviously the Hungaroring is a very different type of circuit to Silverstone, and you really need to adapt to these low speed corners and the amount of action around a lap. We tested a few different things on the car, some of which were thinking about these very high temperatures in Budapest. We don’t have a perfect balance yet so we will have to do a lot of work tonight, but we are getting close, so overall it’s a productive day.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director

“We had two positive sessions, particularly with Esteban who felt comfortable in the car and showed some decent pace on both tyre compounds. Fernando still has a little way to go to improve the car to his exact liking, but we collected a lot of useful data on long runs and different tyres and can improve tomorrow. The final results are good, but it is difficult to read much into the classifications today, especially as the weather may change tomorrow. So, for now, we need to keep our heads down, keep working, have a good qualifying and keep ourselves focused.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Alpine A521 Renault spins during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)


It wasn’t an ideal start to the weekend for Tsunoda, who spun twice in FP1, the second incident big enough to bring out the red flags after he hit the barriers. The team’s blushes were saved by Gasly, who looked back to his usual composed self after a lacklustre weekend last time out. Roll on FP2 and it was more of the same from the Frenchman, who looks in top form here. But a lengthy repair to Tsunoda’s car limited him to just one timed lap right at the end of the session, and leaves the rookie very short of track time heading into the weekend.

READ MORE: Gasly relieved with strong Friday performance at Hungaroring after Silverstone struggles

Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:18.181, P5; FP2: 1:18.113, P6

“I’m very pleased with today, particularly after Silverstone where we struggled a bit. It’s good to see that we’ve got the performance back again. The car felt good even in these really hot conditions, so we’ll see how we do tomorrow. The Alpine car is looking very fast this weekend so we’ll have to work hard tonight to try and get them in Qualifying. I think it might rain overnight, and also in the morning, so we may have different track conditions tomorrow. The pace of the car seems to be good though, so we can go into tomorrow with confidence.”

Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:18.770, P12; FP2: 1:19.671, P17

“I’m really disappointed with today, I made a mistake in FP1 and it meant that I’ve lost more than a session’s worth of running. The rear of the car felt very nervous, especially in high-speed corners, and I was losing a lot of time there compared to Pierre. I was trying to improve in those areas, but I lost control of the car and I went into the wall. Unfortunately, the gearbox was damaged, and the team had to work really hard to get my car ready for the afternoon. The mechanics did a really good job getting the car fixed before the end of the session, so I was able to get one push lap in during FP2. It was really helpful for both the engineers and I to get this, so we can review the data tonight.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“It’s a tale of two halves today for the team. Pierre’s side of the garage have had a very good Friday, we hit the ground running in FP1 and he showed a very good performance on all of the tyres and particularly on the short-run, where the car seems to be in a good place. For sure, the race will be difficult, especially if we have these very high temperatures as it’s very hard on the tyres, so that is probably an area that we should work on for the rest of the weekend. We’ve brought some aero updates to this race and they are performing as expected, which is really positive.

"Yuki was having quite a good FP1 up until the spin, which was unfortunate for him. He sustained some damage to the car which was fairly extensive and took quite a long time to repair. The mechanics did an excellent job getting the car back out before the end of FP2 and Yuki was able to get one push lap in before the end of the session. He completed this lap on the softs, however he ended up in the mix of cars doing long-runs, so we can’t consider his time representative of the real performance. It was always going to be difficult getting that lap in but thanks to the mechanics’ hard work we were able to check that everything on the car is ok and it will also allow Yuki to analyse the set up changes we made to the car after FP1. The forecasts here have been changing daily, so who knows what weather we’ll have tomorrow!”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Pierre Gasly of Scuderia AlphaTauri and France leaves the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Aston Martin

It was a quiet day for Aston Martin, although Vettel lit up the timing screens briefly in FP2 as one of the first to bolt on the soft tyres. When others joined suit, his time was bumped down the order but eighth is still a solid result. Add in top 10 slots for Stroll in both sessions, and Aston Martin look well-placed heading into the weekend.

Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:18.989, P13; FP2: 1:18.228, P8

“We had a decent day. If we qualify tomorrow where we finished today, I think that would probably be a good result for us. But, of course, we want more – so let’s see what we can find overnight. My fastest lap this afternoon was okay, but I left a bit of a margin. On this track, the driver can make the difference if they have absolute trust in the car: it is one corner after the other, without much time to think, so, if we can get in the groove tomorrow morning, we can aim for a good result in qualifying.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:18.755, P10; FP2: 1:18.320, P10

“It was really close out there between the teams, which is to be expected at the Hungaroring. It is always great fun to drive this track, so I am happy to be back. We have learned a lot today – particularly with the tyres. There was quite a lot of degradation in the long runs in FP2, which is often the case in Hungary. We will go away and look into it, because tyres and strategy can be really influential here. I felt good in the car over a single lap, but there are always areas to improve. It has been a good start to the weekend and I am looking forward to qualifying tomorrow. It could be especially exciting if we get some rain, too.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Aston Martin AMR21 Mercedes in the Pitlane during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


As they so often do, McLaren chose to keep their full hand to themselves on Friday, with Norris running flow vis paint for much of the first session as he worked on gathering aero data. He was still in the top 10 though, and will be expected to move up the order tomorrow. As for Ricciardo, he was off the pace of his team mate in both sessions, but whether that was down to driving or his programme remains a mystery.

READ MORE: Norris concerned by gap to rivals after 'tough' FP2 for McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:19.265, P14; FP2: 1:18.737, P13

“It was a pretty tricky day. The track conditions were really hot, so I think that made it more difficult. Even if you’re fastest today it’s probably not going to feel great because the cars and the tyres aren’t optimised for these sorts of conditions. It was hard to get a good feel from the car this morning, in terms of balance. But it was better this afternoon, even though we’ve still got work to do before tomorrow. We’ll try to chip away, make another step or two overnight and then be in a good place tomorrow.”

Lando Norris - FP1: 1:18.649, P9; FP2: 1:18.313, P9

"Today wasn't too bad – obviously very hot which made things a bit tricky. It’s not just warm inside the car but the car itself, especially the tyres – the tarmac is hot and that can change a lot of things with the car and how it feels too. It doesn't make things too easy with the temperatures, but we’ll try to make sure we do a better job with that tomorrow and make improvements overnight. But I think we’re there or thereabouts, so we’ll see if we can gain a little bit for tomorrow."

Andrea Stella, Racing Director

“We’ve had a busy and productive day of practice in Hungary. Conditions today were extreme: high ambient temperatures and I don’t think we were far from a record track temperature. We progressed through our programme well, without issues, and are happy with what we’ve learned today. We seem to be in the usual position in terms of competitiveness. The midfield is very tight, and a few milliseconds will make all the difference, so we have some work to do this evening and tomorrow to prepare for qualifying and ensure we have a good race on Sunday, starting from as high up on the grid as possible. We also know the weather is unsettled, so we’ll be preparing for multiple scenarios for the rest of the weekend.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Sparks fly behind Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren F1 Team MCL35M Mercedes during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Kubica was in the cockpit for Alfa Romeo on Friday, with Raikkonen getting a lie-in. The Pole managed his usual tidy session, before the Iceman took the reins. Raikkonen wound up in the garage for a chunk of FP2 though, although if anyone can cope with losing a bit of lap time here, it is the Finn. As for Giovinazzi, he sat out most of FP1 with technical issues but managed a fuller session in the afternoon. Not the ideal day for the team.

Kimi Raikkonen - FP2: 1:19.277, P14

“We were able to do a good amount of laps in FP2, but there’s still work to be done with the set-up of the car. The balance is not yet where we want it to be, but we have a whole evening to improve it ahead of tomorrow. We’ll only find out if we’ve done enough when we get to qualifying, hopefully we will earn a spot in Q2.”

Robert Kubica – FP1: 1:20.639, P18

“It was a productive morning in difficult conditions, a session in which we managed to complete our programme. My day in the car was quite smooth and I am happy with the job I did: I am always keen to help the team progress and I feel my input gives a different perspective compared to Kimi’s and Antonio’s, who get to drive the car every session. Hopefully that can be of help to the team. Outside the car, it was very nice to have a virtual meeting with some of the fans in the grandstands. There’s a lot of support for us here, we see it in our team booth in the fan zone, and we’re keen to put up a good show for them.”

Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:21.889, P20; FP2: 1:20.186, P19

“Not the easiest day for us, but a good recovery in the afternoon, all things considered. A technical issue meant we effectively missed FP1, but we were able to make up some ground in the second session. Unfortunately, my fastest lap was deleted, so the standings don’t look great, but we can be confident: hopefully we can be strong on Saturday. The fight for a spot in Q2 will be tight but we are going to give it our best shot and see if we can make it.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Alfa Romeo Racing C41 Ferrari during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Williams were another team to have a quiet day, managing uninterrupted running and gathering plenty of data. Russell was the pick of the two, although by the looks of things, he might struggle to make the same impression on the midfield that he’s managed in the last two races. Latifi had a solid day, although he did complain about being blocked by a Mercedes at one point. At a blustery track that wasn't expected to suit their car, it was a decent opening effort from the pair.

George Russell – FP1: 1:19.724, P15; FP2: 1:19.292, P15

"It was very hot out there and overall, it was a good day. We were not quite as quick as I had hoped but, having said that, it’s only Friday. We’re in a good position for Qualifying and also for the race. It is so difficult to overtake here and if conditions stay the same, with the track temperature being very hot, then it will be a difficult race for everyone, so we are definitely keeping an eye on Sunday."

Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1:06.978, P19; FP2: 1:19.479, P16

"It was definitely very tricky today, one of the hottest track temperatures I have driven, so it was a challenge to find the right balance with the tyre management. The relative pace is there or there abouts, but I feel there is a lot that we can improve which is a positive.

"The car has had the pace to get into Q2 at almost every race this year, so on a track where the car should be more competitive, I see no reason why we can’t fight for that tomorrow. We have some work to do tonight, we still have to dial in the balance of the car to give me a bit more confidence, but it is definitely possible."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"Today has been very hot and this has occupied quite a lot of our time. Both drivers have had solid days and have begun to tune their cars for the conditions we expect to see tomorrow and on Sunday. We have run all three compounds today and have a good idea of how we will tackle qualifying and the race. We think there is more to come from the car tomorrow and tonight we will be looking to see how we can get a little more from the tyres during a qualifying lap.

"There is a risk of rain for the rest of the weekend and so we will have to keep this in our minds as we finalise the car build ahead of qualifying."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Williams Racing FW43B Mercedes during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)


It was a mostly clean day for the Haas drivers, with Schumacher managing a full programme after concentrating on the hard and medium tyres for much of the day. The German got the better of his team mate in both sessions, but it will be interesting to see if Mazepin can turn the tables tomorrow, at a track he excelled at in the junior categories. The Russian was the only one of the two to suffer some misfortune, after a puncture ruined one set of his tyres.

Mick Schumacher – FP1: 1:20.383, P17; FP2: 1:19.817, P18

“I think it was a positive start in the sense that we were able to accomplish our run plan. Obviously, in terms of speed we’re a bit adrift but hopefully if I manage to get a good lap in, we’ll be a bit closer to Williams, which is what we’re hoping for. We had two very different types of tyre wear in the two practice sessions. Today we had 63-degree track temperature – that’s the hottest I’ve ever seen it. For Sunday, the temperature should be a bit cooler and hopefully we will have done enough in terms of research to be able to keep up with the others.”

Nikita Mazepin – FP1: 1:20.992, P19; FP2: 1:21.881, P20

“It was a physical day, but we got lot of laps done. Unfortunately, I had a puncture in the afternoon which prevented me from any soft tyre running but we compensated and got a very long run. Although it isn’t perfect on a track where you can’t overtake, there’s loads of laps completed, experience and data gathered. Ever since Silverstone, we’ve managed to stabilise the car well and obviously on a track where you lose the rears, like Silverstone, we’ve achieved a good pace on long runs. We need to rebalance the car to have more front end in slow speed corners and we’ll be good.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“It was a pretty good session. We had a slow puncture with Nikita during FP2 on his soft tyre which we need to look into. No real problem – we just did our job. We got enough data and the guys got to learn the track in a Formula 1 car. So far, all good. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Nikita Mazepin of Russia driving the (9) Haas F1 Team VF-21 Ferraricaption here>> during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)


Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing

"These were some of the hottest track temperatures we can ever remember so thermal degradation was definitely a factor during the longer runs; particularly on the soft compound and on the rear tyres. However, it's far from certain that the weather will remain the same, with a forecast of rain at some point adding yet another unpredictable element to what is always a strategically complex race. In comparison to last year, the warmer conditions allowed the soft tyre to perform very well over a single lap.

"Nonetheless, there could be an advantage in starting on the medium tyre for the grand prix, so this will be a consideration for the qualifying strategy. With a bigger gap between medium and soft than we expected for now, getting through the Q2 session on the medium isn't guaranteed for anybody. So there's plenty for the teams to think about tonight."

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the key moments from second practice for the Hungarian GP


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