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Friday in Hungary - team by team

22 Jul 2016

A round-up of the opening day's action from the Formula 1 Magyar Nagydij 2016 at Budapest’s Hungaroring.
Red Bull

Red Bull focused on running their RB12s on the soft Pirellis all through FP1, and halfway through FP2, but when they did get on to the supersofts the times were there - at least for Ricciardo. Thus far Verstappen hasn’t yet got on to his team mate’s pace, admitting to a mistake on his best lap.

The mood in the camp was slightly deflated after the 0.595s gap to Mercedes that was established once both marques ran the same rubber. Having hoped to be in a position here to challenge Mercedes, Ricciardo admits the fight is more with Ferrari as both were unable to push the silver cars.

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:23.174, P5; FP2: 1:21.030, P2

"We’re looking pretty good, we’d like to be a bit closer to Mercedes but at the moment we’re sitting sort-of second best, a bit quicker than Ferrari today, so we are more or less where we expected to be. We knew it would be close with Ferrari, so if we can keep our nose in front that would be nice. I think we’re in a pretty good position for a Friday. The new track surface isn’t massively different, it’s a bit smoother but the nature of the track is still the same. I was a little bit worried it would lose some of its character, but I think it’s still much the same. As more cars drive on the track during the weekend, it should come up and get quicker and quicker. We have to target top three; the last two years we have had podiums here, so three years in a row would be nice."

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:23.457, P6; FP2: 1:21.770, P4

"We started quite easily in FP1 today and worked through our programme. FP2 was much better; we were a lot closer to the pace of the Mercedes and the long runs were looking good so I’m happy about that. I made a little mistake in the last sector on my fast lap but these things happen, hopefully just today and not tomorrow. I want to improve the car a bit for the race, Ferrari are not too far away so we shall see what happens tomorrow in qualifying.  The weather on Sunday could be warmer which usually means more issues with the tyres but it’s the same for everyone so let’s wait and see. For me the kerbs are quite ok here, if you have an oversteer moment then you can go wide but otherwise it’s ok to stay within the limits of the track."

Renault

Magnussen missed the morning as Ocon stood in and did a workmanlike job in the car; the Dane got up to speed in the afternoon but Palmer had a hugely frustrating day, doing only six laps in the morning due to fuel pressure problems, and two late in the afternoon once they had finally been rectified. Tech director Nick Chester explained that the difficulty in tracing such problems lies in the fact that while the work needs to be done in the garage, the efficacy of a cure can’t be known until the car is on track and the system is under full load. Systematic changing of components eventually cleared the problems.

Jolyon Palmer - FP1: 1:28.560, P22; FP2: 1:23.528, P19

"Obviously today was pretty far from ideal as we only got six laps on track in the morning then twelve in the afternoon but I know the track and the car feels pretty decent so it’s not the end of the world. I started my day hoping that there would be no issues with the car and that the bad luck was behind me, then we continued to have a recurring fuel issue, which was a bit of a pain. We haven’t learnt too much over my side of the garage today but we seem to have got to the bottom of the fuel pressure issue so that’s a definite positive from the hard work."

Kevin Magnussen - FP2: 1:23.347, P17

"It was quite a relaxed morning for me watching my car being driven by Esteban then a full and productive afternoon back behind the wheel. We completed a good number of laps, which was useful as we’re learning the new track surface here. The surface does let us go faster but there were a few moments learning just how hard we could push. I’m happy with my day’s work and, as usual, we’ll be looking to unlock a little more pace ahead of qualifying."

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:25.260, P18

"It was good to get some time in the car here and it’s a great track. It was pretty slippery when it was damp at the beginning of the session but we were able to run through a good programme. I’m happy with my time in the car and I was able to give the engineers what was hopefully good feedback."

Nick Chester, Technical Director

"It was a fairly mixed day for us. On one hand, things were difficult for Jolyon as he lost a lot of running time with fuel system problems. We did eventually fix it and ensured he had enough runs to gain a reasonable feel for the car on both tyres, ready for tomorrow. A fuel system issue tends to be difficult to trace because it has to be checked in the garage but until the system is under full load on track and drawing its full fuel rate, you can’t be certain that it’s fixed. We systematically changed components and cleared the problem.

"On the other side of the garage, Kevin got a lot of running done this afternoon, including a really long stint on soft tyres and we are reasonably happy with what we got under our belts. Esteban also did a good job in the morning and got plenty done. It was a slow start this morning thanks to a slightly damp track but he did everything we asked of him. Once dry, the track’s new surface proved obviously faster than it was last year but didn’t cause any problems otherwise. It’s bound to get even quicker as it rubbers in throughout the weekend."

Force India

Both drivers were happy with the general feel of the VJM09, but said that the Hamilton red flag in FP2 sapped their programme’s momentum.

Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 1:24.120, P11; FP2: 1:22.449, P9

"It’s been a fairly standard Friday, with no big surprises. The new track surface is a big difference compared to previous years. The bumps that were one of the features of this track are gone and the new tarmac is really grippy. I think times are already a couple of seconds faster than they used to be. The initial feeling with the car is pretty good - of course, there are the usual tweaks we have to make overnight, but by looking at both our short and long run pace, we seem to be in good shape."

Sergio Perez  - FP1: 1:24.073, P10; FP2: 1:22.653, P10

"It’s been a very useful first day of work, even though the red flag in FP2 came at the worst possible moment and reduced our short run work. We made quite a few changes on the car between runs, so there will be a lot of data to analyse to come up with the best set-up for both qualifying and the race. We managed to get a lot of information on our long runs and this should be good for the race. The new track surface is a lot smoother and there is a lot of grip so it’s a big improvement compared with last year."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal 

"A busy day on track with each car completing a race distance to give us plenty of data for the race. Track temperatures were pretty hot – in the high forties – but we could see even hotter temperatures over the weekend. We worked through our usual tyre programmes and carried out some experimentation with test items split between the two cars – tonight we will decide on the best route to take going forward. The drivers appear generally happy with the car balance and the focus for tomorrow morning will be firmly on qualifying performance because grid position is especially important for this event given the tight layout of the track."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"The teams completed all the due diligence that they needed today, throughout two free practice sessions that were made particularly important because of the new track surface. As expected, it was ‘green’ and slippery to begin with – not helped by the overnight rain – but we’ve seen a considerable improvement in lap times compared to 2015, with last year’s pole time already beaten in FP1. With qualifying being traditionally so crucial to the race result here, the set-up and tyre evaluation work that continues tomorrow will be of vital importance."

Mercedes

Rosberg said he had a very positive day and, like Hamilton, felt that the pace is there in the W07 F1 Hybrid. Hamilton wasn’t impressed with his crash and apologised for giving his crew plenty of work. That will include replacement of some front suspension components, bodywork, rear suspension and gearbox. The latter two would have been replaced anyway as they are Friday units, so no penalties will apply. Overall, there’s a confident mood here even though they expect Red Bull and Ferrari to be strong tomorrow.

Nico Rosberg - FP1: 1:21.584, P2; FP2: 1:20.435, P1

"An impressive day for us, performance-wise. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be in quite such a strong position tomorrow - but for now it's very positive. I'm feeling great out there and the car is very quick, so a good start to the weekend overall. We got everything done in terms of qualifying and race sim work and it's all looking very good. I think the new asphalt suits us, so I'm optimistic. It's a great feeling to start the day like that with the contract being sorted. That was always going to be a positive boost. Now I'm really excited for the rest of the weekend in my awesome Silver Arrow."

Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:21.347, P1; FP2: 1:21.960, P5

"Obviously, not the greatest session for me. My apologies to the crew for all the hard work they have ahead to strip the car and get it back together. Fortunately, I got a good feel for it in the few laps that I did have and the pace is clearly there, so hopefully tomorrow I can make up for the time lost today during the morning session and come back strongly in Qualifying."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical) 

"There was a great deal of anticipation going into today, as we eagerly awaited the chance to try out a long-standing circuit with all-new tarmac, all-new kerbs and the SuperSoft compound in use for the first time at this venue. We had a good session in FP1, with both tyre compounds working even better than expected and no issues to report. Unfortunately, early in FP2 Lewis was caught out by one of the new, unpainted kerbs on the entry to T11, resulting in quite a heavy impact with the barriers. This ruled him out of the remainder of the session as the crew assessed the damage to his car. The most important thing is that Lewis was unharmed despite the impact. These cars are very stiff and very strong in a pure lateral load, so he went to the medical centre for assessment after a high G-Force reading from the accident data recorder - but luckily the tyre barrier took most of the energy out of the impact. There has been some damage to suspension and a few bodywork elements - but this will be easily fixed overnight. With Nico, we managed to complete a full programme - including some good long runs - so fortunately we have all the data we need heading into the weekend despite the setback for Lewis. We now look forward to a good competition tomorrow."

Sauber

Sauber conducted further tests in FP1 with the new rear wing introduced at Silverstone, then focused on race set-up work in FP2, when Nasr had to stop late in the session with hydraulic issues.

Felipe Nasr - FP1: 1:25.256, P17; FP2: 1:23.986, P20

"Overall it was not an ideal Friday. In FP1 we spent quite a lot of time evaluating the new rear wing. In FP2 I was able to do short runs on soft as well as supersoft tyres. The lap times of the high-fuel runs were quite consistent, but then suddenly I had to stop the car out on the track due to hydraulic issues. We need to focus on tomorrow and try to improve as well as we can."

Marcus Ericsson - FP1: 1:24.981, P15; FP2: 1:23.437, P18

"It was a decent day. Probably not the best Friday, as our pace is not there yet. The programme went quite smoothly. I was able to run a good amount of laps on both compounds – the soft and the supersoft tyres – which was positive. Now we have some work ahead of us to improve. We need to find more performance for the rest of the weekend."

Williams

Once again the Williams drivers struggled to get the best out of the supersofts and languished well down the timesheets as different suspension set-ups were tried. Both Massa and Bottas said that the effect was poor balance, but both were encouraged by the consistency of pace the FW38 showed on the soft compound, even if it wasn’t close to that of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.

Bottas received a reprimand for failing to keep right of a marker cone on entry to the pits. A new floor will be ready for tomorrow, and hopes for a turnaround rest upon it.

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:24.370, P13; FP2: 1:22.773, P14

"Today we focussed on learning about the soft and supersoft tyres on both long and short runs. In the shorter runs, I wasn’t totally happy with the car balance so I hope we can improve for tomorrow, and I think that we can because there is room to. The timings look really close so any improvement that we can make will be a step forward. It was also quite interesting to try out the new asphalt today. There’s definitely more grip available, but it can also create issues with tyre wear on the supersofts."

Felipe Massa - FP1: 1:24.154, P12; FP2: 1:22.681, P12

"Today was a pretty normal Friday but definitely not an easy one. We’ve just been trying to learn more about the tyres, understand the balance of the track and try different things in the car. It’s not an easy track for us compared to others. The good thing is that nothing strange happened and nothing went wrong today, so I’m really hoping we can be competitive and score some good points."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"I think overall today has been a positive start to what I hope is a positive weekend. After Silverstone we regrouped and tried to understand what, if anything, could be causing our poor run of form. So today was very much a continuation of the Silverstone test. We’ve been looking at different rear suspension configurations in both FP1 and FP2, and I think we’ve found a reasonable direction with it. We will go through the data to ensure that we’ve done everything right. When we’ve had the car in the correct configuration we’ve been reasonable, especially on the long runs which were good today, so that’s a definite positive for us. We’re still not quite where we need to be, but I think we’re back to our normal position behind the top three teams. We’ve got quite a big floor upgrade coming tomorrow, so we’ll be testing that in FP3 and hopefully it moves us forward a little more. We also completed a number of installation laps on the front wings to look at some very specific data collection. Aside from that we’ve stayed with the old specification, because we wanted to concentrate on the suspension work."

Toro Rosso

Both drivers struggled with poor balance in the last three corners, lack of straightline speed and front-wheel locking. Kvyat had several off-track moments, while Sainz spun in FP2 after an energy recovery problem arose.

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:24.579, P14; FP2: 1:22.689, P13

"Not the best of Friday’s, unfortunately. We’ve had quite a tough day and we struggled a bit with the balance in FP1. We tried to correct this and it actually got better for this afternoon’s FP2, but I’m still not completely happy. Also, the resurfaced track makes it feel like a completely new circuit and creates new challenges for us. We now need to work hard tonight, analyse the data and see where we went wrong today so that we can be stronger tomorrow. The midfield looks so tight that a small improvement can put you directly back in the fight and that’s where we aim to be."

Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:25.324, P19; FP2: 1:22.948, P16

"There were a few ups and downs today, but in general I’d say we got enough information to work with and get ready for tomorrow. We have a few things to improve but tonight we will look carefully at everything and see where we can progress. The fact that the track’s surface is new has also changed a few things compared to last year, so this is something we will also look into tonight in order to understand this circuit better."

Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer)

"This has been a very trying day for us. Especially in the short runs we have not had very happy drivers. Sector 1 is our relatively weakest sector but a generally awkward balance in the last 3 corners, front-lock and straight-line speed were the most repeated issues. We have some obvious areas to look into tonight and will do our best homework to come back better tomorrow. Unfortunately, the long runs were also not a great representation of what we are capable of, with Daniil struggling with some graining. On the positive side, Daniil was a bit stronger on the soft long run, so there is a glimmer that we will be able to get the car where we need it, given we can put the tyres and balance in a happy window. It’s a pity that Carlos had an energy recovery issue mid-way through the long runs, which caused him to have to bring the car to stop at turn 1. Let’s work for a more positive day tomorrow."

Manor

Wehrlein reported problems with his pit lane speed limiter sticking on during FP1, and that turned out to be the precursor of a need to change the engine. That was done in time for him to run in FP2, when things went better. Haryanto thus did the testing of new updates in the morning.

Pascal Wehrlein - FP1: 1:27.249, P21; FP2: 1:23.992, P21

"We were experiencing some problems in FP1 and at the end of the session took the decision to make a precautionary engine change. During the morning we only completed 9 laps, so it made sense to change while we continued to investigate the problem and ensure we were able to do some meaningful running this afternoon. The boys did a great job to turn the car around so quickly; we just missed the start of FP2 but ran for the rest of the session. So, yes, good to get back on track.

"We’re not in too bad a place at the end of Friday, but there’s some work to do overnight and into FP3 before we can get a full read on where we are at this track. We have some updates here and after qualifying we should know a little more about how much they have helped us. So we’ll wait and see – normal for a Friday."

Rio Haryanto - FP1: 1:27.012, P20; FP2: 1:24.265, P22

"Coming to this track we knew it was going to be difficult for us because it’s a high downforce circuit and we’re lacking a little bit in that area - that’s a gap we’re addressing with our development programme. I think we made a good step from FP1 to FP2 and the lap time is improving; we’re edging closer to Sauber and Renault.

"We did some long runs at the end of FP2 to try to better understand the tyre degradation. It’s very hot here this weekend, so we shouldn’t have the challenge of trying to get up to and maintain temperature so much. I’d like to think we’ll be a bit better off here but we need to analyse the data and finalise a set-up direction for tomorrow to help us manage the tyres."

Dave Ryan, Racing Director

"A much better afternoon for us after a more challenging start to the day this morning for Pascal. It was clear there was an issue that needed further investigation but better that we did that without compromising our track time any further. So we made the decision to change the engine as a precaution, and this happened very smoothly during the lunch break. Pascal’s crew worked well to ensure he was out on track very early on in the FP2 session and we’ve made good progress catching up this afternoon. Rio has improved steadily through both sessions and is heading in a good direction."

Haas

All three drivers were happy with the level of competitiveness of the VF-16s and the way their days went, though Grosjean complained of brake problems in FP2.

Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:24.013, P9; FP2: 1:22.864, P15

"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."

Esteban Gutierrez - FP2: 1:22.673, P11

"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."

Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:25.181, P16

"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."

Guenther Steiner, team principal

"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."

Ferrari

Both drivers said all the usual bold things about how little stock they place on Fridays, and Vettel said that once his car had been rebooted a couple of times in FP1 it got going quite well. But the fact is that they need to demonstrate competitive qualifying pace tomorrow, and race pace on Sunday, to confirm that the SF16-H really does have what it takes to be a winner.

Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:22.991, P3; FP2: 1:21.348, P3

"Today I think we lost a bit of time in the beginning. Obviously with the red flag it was not ideal, we had to come in a couple of times, re-programme the car and go out again. The good news is that we were able to fix it, but I lost a bit of the rhythm. After this the car felt fine, but I think we can improve the setup for tomorrow, and then we should have a better balance in the car. We need to be better in sector 1, 2, 3, I don't think that there is one sector that stands out. I am not entirely happy with the balance yet, so naturally if everything comes more together I think we can improve overnight and so we will be better in all three sectors. Today is Friday, and I don't value Friday that much. We look at ourselves, here and there we need to improve, and then go from there. Tomorrow is a new day."

Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:23.082, P4; FP2: 1:22.058, P6

"Overall it was a pretty ok day, we made the right improvements and I'm sure we can still make progress and go faster. I think we are going in the right direction. The conditions of the track are much better, they have done a really good job with the tarmac, it's much smoother and also the kerbs are better than they used to be. I haven't seen what the others have done and it's still Friday, too early to know where we are. We know our rivals are fast, but we can improve, we'll see what happens."

McLaren

Once again McLaren looked strong on a downforce track, with competitive seventh and eighth times in both sessions. Alonso’s engine had to be changed prior to FP2, but since an older one complete with all the upgrade equipment was prepared, no penalties will apply.

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:23.935, P7; FP2: 1:22.328, P7

“It’s been a hectic weekend already on our side of the garage, with a power unit change between the two sessions. I didn’t feel there was anything wrong with the engine in FP1, but after the session the data showed some anomalies and Honda therefore preferred to change it for FP2.

“Our positions today look reasonably good but we need to wait and see what happens tomorrow. There’s still quite a lot to do to improve things, especially on the set-up, but we have a few ideas.

“We’ll fight hard to get into Q3 tomorrow, and I think we’ll have a chance to make it, as we’ve done successfully already a few times in the past few races.

“Overtaking on this track is very difficult, so starting as close as possible to the front is paramount.”

Jenson Button - FP1: 1:23.961, P8; FP2: 1:22.387, P8

“I’m pretty happy with the way the car feels, on both long runs and low-fuel runs. Having said that, tyre degradation is definitely going to be important here on Sunday: it seems the soft tyre has very good degradation, but the supersoft is struggling just a bit.

“As always, the Hungaroring circuit is great fun to drive - and it’s giving us a good feeling as well, especially now that the track surface is gripping up. As for the asphalt itself, I like the new smoother surface - and it seems to be working for us, too.

“It’s pretty tight in the midfield - we ended up seventh and eighth both this morning and this afternoon, and everyone behind us was very close - so the closest fight is definitely behind us, not in front of us.

“Our goal is to qualify as well as we can, then score some good world championship points. I think we should be able to do that - that’s our aim certainly.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director

“Today was a successful day as far as our run programmes were concerned.

“In both FP1 this morning and FP2 this afternoon, both our cars ran well for the most part. We made good progress, and both drivers reported satisfactory handling balance by the day’s end.

“Perhaps the sinuous topography of the notoriously serpentine Hungaroring suits our car’s performance envelope rather better than do the layouts of most other circuits - but, if so, we’ll take the smooth with the rough whenever it comes our way.

“We’ll now crunch the data we obtained today, in an effort to build on our encouraging start, our target being to qualify both our cars tomorrow in positions advantageous enough from which to launch a dual bid for a decent clutch of world championship points on Sunday.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

"Today's running sessions were very busy, with back-to-back aero testing and confirmation on both cars.

“It is yet difficult to predict where we are performance-wise this weekend, but both drivers were relatively appreciative of the feeling they had in the car. So far, a good start to the weekend.

“On the last lap of FP1 Fernando's ICE showed a data anomaly; therefore, we elected to swap the full power unit to run in the afternoon's FP2 session. The data will be further investigated."