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Russell sets the pace on final day of Hungary test

01 Aug 2018

Mercedes capped off a successful week in Budapest with the fastest time of the in-season test, as their reserve George Russell ensured the championship leaders finished ahead of Ferrari at the Hungaroring...

Russell was in the car throughout the two days of testing and the Formula 2 championship leader got to run the hypersoft tyre on Wednesday afternoon to post a 1:15.575. With 116 laps to his name, it was a productive day for the young British driver, who ended up 0.074s clear of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Having returned to Budapest to carry out duties on Wednesday, Raikkonen was also running the hypersofts in the final 15 minutes of testing and registered a 1:15.649. The Finn was joint-highest mileage as he completed 131 laps, but his best time was just 0.001s slower than Antonio Giovinazzi posted on Tuesday on the same compound.

Raikkonen was the only race driver taking part in open testing on Wednesday, with Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley sharing Pirelli tyre testing duties. While Daniel Ricciardo took part on Tuesday, it was simulator driver Jake Dennis who got another run in the Red Bull, having made his debut during the in-season test in Barcelona.

Dennis matched Raikkonen’s tally of 131 laps, but was unable to match his lap time as he ended up 1.4s further back from the Ferrari, also on the hypersofts that were used by the majority of drivers.

After setting the pace on Tuesday in the Ferrari, Antonion Giovinazzi switched to Sauber - the other team he acts as reserve driver for - and enjoyed another strong run. The Italian completed 120 laps with a best time of 1:17.558, nearly 0.6s quicker than Marcus Ericsson managed for Sauber on day one on the same hypersoft tyre.

While the rain held off until half an hour after the end of running, there were two red flag interruptions caused by Force India that limited Nikita Mazepin’s track time.

The GP3 race-winner caused the first stoppage during the morning session, as a brake-by-wire problem left him stranded at Turn 11. Having not returned to the track until after the lunch break, Mazepin then stopped again on the outside of Turn 13 with a little over two hours remaining, and could only add a handful of laps to his name in the closing moments to break the 50-lap mark.

Testing might not be the most exciting task for the drivers, but a significant number of Polish fans were having a good time in the main grandstand opposite the Williams garage as Robert Kubica enjoyed another outing. 

Twelve months on from his return to current F1 machinery with Renault at the same venue, Kubica was sixth fastest - 2.9s off the pace on ultrasoft tyres - having given the 2019-specification wing another outing late in the day that saw the Williams covered in a number of different colours of flo-viz paint.

Kubica’s best lap was 0.021s faster than Lando Norris registered for McLaren - albeit on soft tyres - with the British teenager only managing 73 laps due to what the team described as “small issues” that interrupted the afternoon session.

After Kubica’s run last year, Renault was again providing a significant opportunity in a current car as Artem Markelov made his debut in a 2018 chassis. The Russian F2 driver was eighth quickest ahead of Sean Gelael in the Toro Rosso, with 108 laps making up for some of the time lost due to an electronics issue for Nico Hulkenberg on Tuesday.