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What the teams said – Friday in Hungary

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes

Ferrari

Sainz fell foul of the slippery conditions in FP1, spinning and clipping the barriers. He would have managed to get back under his own steam had he not beached his car on the guttering at the edge of the track, requiring a push from the mechanics to get going. Leclerc then took centre stage in FP2, finishing top after opting for some lower fuel runs on the soft tyres. Whether he can stay there come qualifying remains to be seen, with plenty of the field saving their quali sims for tomorrow’s session.

WATCH: Ride onboard with Charles Leclerc as he sets the fastest lap on the first day of action in Budapest

Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:41.142, P7; FP2: 1:17.686, P1

"It was a good day overall, although it is still difficult to read into the other teams’ performance as everyone is running different programmes in light of the new format. We did everything we planned to do and the feeling in the car was pretty good so let’s see what we can do tomorrow."

Carlos Sainz - FP1: No time set, P15; FP2: 1:18.182, P10

"It was a strange Friday: FP1 was affected by the rain and in FP2 we had to work taking into account the new format we will run this weekend. In the short run I had quite a bit of traffic with the high fuel runners while in the long run I felt a bit better even if we didn’t do too many laps. Overall there is margin to improve ahead of tomorrow so we’ll get on with it straight away."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-23 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Mercedes

Russell finished on top in FP1, enjoying an entertaining tussle with Piastri for supremacy as those two traded fastest laps in the drying conditions. But in the second session, the team opted to only run the medium tyres and concentrate fully on race pace. Hamilton complained about a lack of grip, Russell struggled with some of his settings, and with no soft tyre laps they tumbled down the leader board.

READ MORE: Hamilton says W14 was ‘at its worst today’ as he and Russell reflect on trying day for Mercedes in Budapest

Lewis Hamilton – FP1: No time set, P20; FP2: 1:18.746, P16

“We only used one set of the dry compound tyres today. With the ‘Alternative Tyre Allocation’ format we get less running, which is not ideal from a driver’s perspective. We will have more flexibility in terms of what tyres we run in FP3 tomorrow though. The car wasn’t feeling great today, but we will be working on the set-up overnight and hopefully make some improvements for tomorrow. We typically start off lacking a little pace. Through the work we do and changes we make, we typically tend to find some more speed as we progress into the weekend. I’m hopeful that tomorrow the car will feel better.”

George Russell - FP1: 1:38.795, P1; FP2: 1:19.175, P20

“We were on a very different programme to everyone else today, only using one set of the medium compound tyre throughout. For FP2, that meant we were running a used medium tyre, so the lap times don’t give a true representation of our pace. I’m sure tomorrow we will be better. We’re just focused on trying to improve and we know we tend to improve as the weekend progress, which is the right way around.

“We learned a few interesting things even in that one dry session. We’re struggling with a bit of overall grip and the tyres didn’t feel like they were in the right window on both low fuel and high fuel. We need to understand why that was, but these are difficult things to assess during a session. We will work on that overnight; it wasn’t our best day for sure but that’s not the first time we’ve said that this year. Saturday and Sunday tend to be better so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

“FP1 was not a great deal of use due to the timing of the red flag and then the arrival of the rain. We carried a lightly used set of medium tyres into the second session; we did some work on lower fuel levels but focused more on the long run. Most teams took a second set of tyres today, something we chose not to do. That’s the main reason we don’t feature higher up on the time sheets. The benefit will come in the learning for qualifying, where we have two new sets in FP3.

“There’s plenty of work to do with the car balance on both the single lap and long run, which is useful as the field is looking very tight. We also have the challenge of different compounds in each segment of qualifying, meaning the out laps need to be adjusted continuously. We will review all the data tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Red Bull

Perez found himself in the barriers as soon as the weekend began, dipping a wheel onto the grass on his first out-lap which caused him to spin off into the barriers. His team did well to get his car fixed in time for FP2. The Mexican did lock up in the second session, which cost him a further set of tyres. All of that rather overshadowed Verstappen, who kept his head down and had a steady if unspectacular day.

READ MORE: Perez owns up to FP1 mistake as he thanks Red Bull for ‘tremendous job’ to repair car

Max Verstappen - FP1: No time set, P19; FP2: 1:18.279, P11

“It is very hard to comment on the new upgrades after a limited amount of running, we will look through the data to see if everything is correlating well because we haven’t actually used a lot of tyre sets today. With this new format you are super limited with the tyres you can use and I didn’t want to use them today, so we could have a better preparation tomorrow. We want to be the quickest in qualifying but first we need to do a bit more running with different tyre sets to get a better understanding. The car felt not too bad, there was a bit of understeer but when I went out on the long run we looked competitive, it’s difficult to say over one lap pace but overall the car is still strong.”

Sergio Perez - FP1: No time set, P16; FP2: 1:18.978, P18

“Today, the incident in FP1 was a mistake from my side. However, the Team have done a tremendous job to get the car together so we could get some laps in for FP2 and, with the new tyre format this weekend, it was great to get some good information and data to look through. Regarding our new upgrades, it is quite early to comment and understand how they will come into play, but we will have a better idea of this tomorrow. Finally, I am positive about qualifying tomorrow and we have everything in place to go out and have a solid weekend.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing walks into the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

McLaren

Both Piastri and Norris looked quick in the mixed conditions in the opening session, the rain certainly doing them no harm out there. Their car tends to go well in cooler conditions so they also looked good in FP2, especially Norris who was a hair’s breadth away from topping the session. Piastri ran wide over the kerbs and damaged his floor which cost him some running, the Australian not bolting on the soft tyres in the end.

READ MORE: Norris says McLaren in a ‘good place’ but plays down chances of repeating Silverstone success in Hungary

Lando Norris - FP1: 1:40.277, P4; FP2: 1:17.701, P2

"It’s been a good Friday. I'm relatively happy with the overall pace of the car but there are some things to work on ahead of quali. I feel like I’m not able to push quite as much as I would like in a few places on the track, so I think we’ve got a little bit more to unlock – but we’ve started off with a decent balance. I would say our improved pace since the upgrade has continued to help us and give the team confidence in some of the high-speed corners – but the slow-speed corners are still the ones we’re trying to focus on and improve."

Oscar Piastri - FP1: 1:39.154, P2; FP2: 1:19.117, P19

"Friday done, FP1 looked very encouraging in the wet and despite a little bit of floor damage for myself in FP2, we looked pretty solid overall. I missed a bit of running in the middle of the second session due to the damage, but the team did a great job to get the car back on track for valuable laps. I feel like I was in a reasonable place in both sessions, so I'm pretty happy with that. We look to have decent pace, so we'll look into the data overnight and prepare for what tomorrow brings."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

"The variable weather in FP1, and then some floor damage to Oscar’s car in FP2, meant we didn’t get quite as many laps as we would have liked today – but despite the limitations, we gathered some useful data, about the car and tyres, in preparation for qualifying and the race. We’ll work as usual overnight to analyse what we have learned and prepare as well as we can for what will be an interesting debut of the Alternative Tyre Allocation format."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes in the rain during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Aston Martin

It was a quiet day for Aston Martin, with both drivers keeping out of trouble and managing plenty of laps. They both went out on inters in FP1 to sample the wet conditions, and then ran both the softs and the mediums in FP2. Their true place in the pecking order remains an unknown thanks to so many different programmes being on show.

READ MORE: Perez owns up to FP1 mistake as he thanks Red Bull for ‘tremendous job’ to repair car

Fernando Alonso – FP1: 1:40.687, P5; FP2: 1:18.105, P8

“It was a mixed day with some rain and windy conditions at the Hungaroring. We lost time in FP1 and didn’t get much track time in, but it was the same for everyone. I think we maximised FP2 and collected a lot of useful data particularly in preparation for race conditions. Generally, I am quite happy with today and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow in qualifying with hopefully dry conditions.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:40.013, P3; FP2: 1:18.319, P12

"It was good to be back on track at the Hungaroring today; it’s a circuit I really enjoy driving. We had limited running in FP1, only recording about 10 laps due to the heavy rainfall. FP2 became busier with a few different test items to run on the AMR23. Thankfully, the rain held off and we got a good number of laps in and worked through a decent amount of the programme. I think there are still a few changes we can make ahead of Qualifying, so we’ll work through our learnings tonight and look forward to tomorrow.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Alpine

Ocon’s car needed some work in FP1, not that it cost the Frenchman overmuch given the track conditions that limited to running of everyone. But roll on FP2 and both drivers looked quick. Gasly wound up the faster of the two but there wasn’t much in it between the team mates. Ocon did have a slightly hairy moment in the pit lane as he came close to colliding with an AlphaTauri, something he will hope won’t get repeated when it matters later on in the weekend.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from FP2 in Hungary as Leclerc leads the way in another busy session

Esteban Ocon - FP1: No time set, P17; FP2: 1:18.045, P5

“It’s always emotional to drive around this circuit with all the great memories we’ve had here. It’s been a decent day for us, which started with a rain interrupted first session. In the afternoon, we had some good running in Free Practice 2 with the car feeling good overall, and we managed to stick to our programme without any issues. There are some things for us to work on but, overall, we have potential and I hope we will be in good shape for tomorrow. Qualifying will be interesting with the new mandatory tyre choice for each segment so we’ll prepare the best we can for that. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do on this track and we’re fully focused on delivering a good result for the team.”

Pierre Gasly - FP1: No time set, P18; FP2: 1:17.918, P3

“It’s been a solid Friday in Budapest with the one meaningful session in Free Practice 2. I’m happy with today’s work and it’s always nice to be inside the top three on the leaderboard. Free Practice 1 was not representative in the wet conditions where we ran a couple of install laps. The car felt good and consistent and we have a couple of things to work on to find more lap time ahead of tomorrow’s important Qualifying session. We will keep our heads down, keep working hard as a team as there is a long way to go this weekend where our end objective is to come away with as many points as possible.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal

“We can be satisfied with our start to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend where both cars have run consistently and competitively during Practice today. We have a new circuit-specific front wing here, which has worked to expectations and, overall, our package seems well suited to the demands of the Hungaroring. We will keep working hard as a team to put ourselves in a strong position for Qualifying on Saturday afternoon; an all-important session given the nature of the track. Both drivers are pleased with today’s work and look forward to extracting more performance from the car when it counts.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine F1 A523 Renault on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

AlphaTauri

Ricciardo looked like he’d never left in FP1, sensible discussions with his engineer over the radio showing he was all about the business on track. He kept his car pointing the right way in FP1, which was slightly more than his team mate managed – Tsunoda damaging his front wing in a late spin. But in FP2 the Japanese racer showed his experience as he put his car into the top five with a scintillating lap, which Ricciardo couldn’t quite match.

READ MORE: ‘Felt like I never really left’ – Ricciardo happy to be back after first day of running with AlphaTauri in Budapest

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: No time set, P14; FP2: 1:18.385, P14

“I think the position isn't too relevant at the moment. Today was more about feeling where I'm at with the car. Obviously, there's a lot of outside attention, but as soon as I put the helmet on and got in the car, it felt familiar, like I had never left. Obviously, this morning we didn’t get anything except one lap in the dry, but this afternoon, the car felt ok and not too bad. I felt comfortable quite quickly and started to feel the limit of the car. Tomorrow I’ll get a bit more out of me, and there’s for sure some things about the car that we can improve on. We’ll do a bit of work tonight, but nothing crazy. Right now, I’m optimistic. Yuki had a good day, so if we put it all together tomorrow, we can do ok.”

Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:45.575, P12; FP2: 1:17.934, P4

“I’m sure other teams didn’t show their full potential so it’s hard to know our position compared to the rest of the field, but so far, I’m happy how the sessions went today. Hungary is hard on tyres, especially on the C5 soft tyre compound we’re using this weekend, but it allowed us to gather more data about the car, where I felt confident with the consistent balance throughout the long runs. We tried the medium compound, but because the track was cooler than what we're expecting on Sunday, we feel it isn't representative. Overall, the step I felt going from the medium to the soft compound was a big, positive one compared to the season so far.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“It’s been great to welcome Daniel back to the team, and we've all been excited to get to work with him trackside. We had a good plan to maximise the running with him today, get him comfortable with the car and get his feedback on the handling characteristics, but the conditions in FP1 hampered that. We managed to get a few sectors together before the rain came, but we couldn't complete a timed lap. The rain intensity increased, and eventually, the conditions were wet enough for the intermediate compound, where we struggled with overall grip and to warm up the tyres. FP2 was fully dry, so we were able to recover the plans, with both drivers completing short runs on the medium and soft tyre, before the usual long runs for race preparation. Yuki's lap on the soft compound was clean and looked very competitive, but with the ATA weekend, the focus will be on optimising the hard and then medium short-run performance in preparation for Q1 and Q2 respectively. Daniel was quickly up to speed on the medium tyre and slightly under-utilised the grip on the soft compound, so there's definitely more to come. We've been impressed by his performance and feedback so far, and he's fitted straight into the team like he never left. The updates we've brought are working, and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve in quali tomorrow.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia AlphaTauri talks to the media in the Paddock after practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Bottas managed a slow-speed spin in FP1, taking to the grass to get going again as the wet conditions proved tricky to handle. He kept his car pointed in the right direction in FP2, and wound up solidly in the top 10 despite only running the medium compound. Zhou also didn’t bolt on the softs, and like Piastri he ran wide over the kerbs – but was fortunate not to damage his floor.

PRACTICE DEBRIEF: A mixed picture after a disrupted day in Budapest – with the potential for some qualifying surprises

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:41.032, P6; FP2: 1:18.085, P7

“We got decent running during the second practice session, contrary to the first one, when we could only do a handful of laps because of two red flags. The medium tyres seem to work well on our car, stability seemed good, which is especially needed on this track. Overall, it’s safe to say it has been a positive day of learning. Of course, like always, Q3 will be our main target tomorrow, as it seems this track layout is suiting our car better; there is still work to do, and an important session ahead of us tomorrow. Qualifying will be very interesting, with the new compound rules, and I am looking forward to that. Our effort tonight will go into fine tuning our package even more, in order to come fully prepared ahead of Saturday.”

Zhou Guanyu - FP1: 1:41.363, P8; FP2: 1:18.108, P9

“I have been quite happy with the car today, despite the circumstances meaning we only had the second practice session to get the most out of the car. So far, everything seems to be heading in the right direction, but it is obviously difficult to predict what will happen in qualifying now. Looking at today’s results, we appear to be in a stronger position than we were in Silverstone; it will be of course interesting to see how our car will perform on the hard tyres in Q1 tomorrow: no one has that answer yet. Being all on the same compound tomorrow will be challenging, and we will make sure to further optimise our performance during the third and final practice session in the morning to fully extract our potential in Qualifying.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Sparks fly behind Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Alfa Romeo F1 C43 Ferrari during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Haas

Aside from Hulkenberg’s new hair style, there wasn’t too much to discuss down at Haas. The German looked quick on the soft tyres, his one lap prowess coming to the fore yet again. He’ll be hoping to carry that form into tomorrow, although whether Haas have the race pace to keep hold of their qualifying spots remains an unknown.

READ MORE: FP2 pace-setter Leclerc admits Friday times ‘difficult to read’ but confident Ferrari can achieve ‘great result’ in Hungary

Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 1:42.706, P10; FP2: 1:18.058, P6

“It was a Friday! We know one-lap pace is our strength and the long run looked a bit more difficult again, it didn’t feel too great from inside the car, so we’re looking into it to see what we can do. Going forward weather-wise, between tomorrow and Sunday it looks very hot, and tomorrow we have the new quali sequence of which tyres we can run. Using the hard tyre in Q1, I think that will be quite difficult for us, but we’ll see what we can do. We’ll push hard and see if we can progress.”

Kevin Magnussen – FP1: 1:42.906, P11; FP2: 1:18.504, P15

“Today was still useful, we got some dry running there in FP2, FP1 of course was not of much use. It’s interesting none the less. It just feels like a bit of a compromised Friday with this tyre situation, a little bit less interesting in a way. It is what it is though and it’s the same for everyone, so we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I don’t think it’ll change a lot, but we’ll know tomorrow.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“FP1 was very disrupted because of the rain – there was no clear picture to be taken. In FP2, we did our test program without having any issues which was obviously positive. We need to go through the data of what we’ve seen because we had the cars on different specifications, but all-in-all not unhappy, we’d just like to see what we can take for tomorrow.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari leads Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Williams

Williams didn’t expect this track to overly suit their car, so they should be pleasantly surprised with their Friday running. They spent much of FP2 in the top 10 before being bumped down by some late improvers, but all in all the FW45 looked reasonably well planted out there. With Albon’s qualifying form looking good and Sargeant growing in stature, everything appears positive heading into tomorrow.

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Logan Sargeant - FP1: 1:41.416, P9; FP2: 1:18.836, P17

“It’s been a disjointed first day here in Budapest with mixed conditions between FP1 and FP2. The car is in a decent window but there’s plenty to find ahead of tomorrow and plenty of work to do overnight.”

Alex Albon - FP1: 1:47.403, P13; FP2: 1:18.377, P13

“It was a good day for us with the car feeling okay out there, and it being possible to get it into a pretty decent window. It does highlight that it’s not a track that really suits us so even though the car felt good, relative to our rivals, we’re still lacking a bit of pace which is to be expected. However, thinking about it from last year, the car is a good improvement, but we still need to do a bit more for tomorrow if we want to get into Q2.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“Although FP1 was disrupted by some rain and red flags, we had a decent day. This is the first of the ATA events, which has led to some alternative run plans amongst the teams, but we are happy with what we chose to do, and we will see tomorrow how this plays out. Both drivers were mostly happy with their cars. However, we will make some changes overnight as we look to stay ahead of the changing track conditions.

“The car is a lot better here than it was last year, but the Hungaroring still doesn’t suit the natural strengths of the FW45. We will push as hard as possible tomorrow and aim to use the new qualifying format to help us achieve a good result. The race will be challenging, but with overtaking usually difficult here, any places that we can make tomorrow will help us achieve a strong result on Sunday.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW45 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Pirelli

Simone Berra - Chief Engineer

“It was rather an unusual day, down to the changing weather and to the debut of the new tyre allocation format for the weekend as a whole and for qualifying specifically. The first session was not very relevant, especially as the chance of more rain for the rest of the weekend is very low. The second hour however was very useful, producing interesting data. For example, we were able to see that, in these temperatures, with the track never exceeding 34°, even the C5 compound looks like a potential candidate to be used in the race. The ATA definitely influenced the teams’ programmes, with almost all the drivers saving the hard for the coming sessions.

“As usually happens at the Hungaroring and it was even more the case today given the temperatures were lower than usual, we had some graining, a phenomenon which tends to diminish bit by bit as the track rubbers in and the temperatures rise. A very initial look at the data suggests the performance difference between the soft and the medium is in line with expectations at around four to five tenths, while it wasn’t possible to confirm the gap between medium and hard given how few laps were completed on that compound.”

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