As the two-day mid-season test kicked off on Tuesday, the Italian finished an impressive 2.5s ahead of his nearest rival - Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson – to demonstrate the Prancing Horse’s pace this year. In doing so, he produced the fastest lap ever set at the Hungaroring – a mighty 1m 15.648s, which is half a second quicker than anything seen last weekend.
Brendon Hartley was third on the timesheet for Toro Rosso, the Kiwi clocking up the most laps of the day and finishing less than a tenth ahead of Lando Norris. The McLaren junior was one of the more active drivers in the latter stages of the session, after unexpected rain forced the drivers to withdraw to their garages.
Less than a second split Hartley and Force India's Nicholas Latifi in seventh, with Mercedes junior George Russell - who set the fewest laps of the day with just 49 clocked in his Silver Arrow - edging Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in the fight for fifth place. Incidentally, Force India and Red Bull were two of three teams to test the 2019-spec front wings for the first time on Tuesday.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, who will hand over testing duties to Artem Markelov on Wednesday, finished eighth, ahead of Williams’ Oliver Rowland, who was taking part in his second test drive for the Grove team.
Completing the timesheet was Sean Gelael, who was driving the Toro Rosso as part of the Pirelli tyre test programme. The Indonesian driver’s session ended early, after a high-speed crash at Turn 11 brought the red flags out while his stricken car was removed from the track. He escaped unharmed, but his team opted against sending him back out.
The action resumes on Wednesday, with pace-setter Giovinazzi, who took part in first practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday, replacing Ericsson as Sauber’s driver. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica are also among the familiar names set to take to the track for the final day of this test.
* Gelael was conducting Pirelli 2019 tyre development programme