Formula 1: Ferrari strong, new Vettel wing causes a stir

Charles Leclerc’s mission is clear: after his blunder in France last weekend, the Ferrari star must win the last Grand Prix before the summer break in Budapest on Sunday to keep his World Cup dreams alive. On Friday, Leclerc then managed a flying start to the weekend, with Monegasse turning the best time of the day in 1:18.445 minutes.

“Of course it wasn’t easy after Le Castellet, but Charles tried to clear his head at home for a few days. Now he’s back and wants to open a new white page here,” explains Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto. The Italian is confident: “Charles is in a good mood and fast, he can win here.”

Surprise man Lando Norris: second place in the McLaren

McLaren driver Lando Norris surprisingly finished second on Friday. The Briton is only two tenths short of the best time, which puts him just ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who had set the fastest lap in the first session in the early afternoon. Another indicator of McLaren’s upswing: Daniel Ricciardo, recently more of a problem child, made it to fifth place.

But Norris curbs expectations: “No, I’m not expecting to fight for pole tomorrow,” laughs the McLaren driver after practice: “We’re definitely in a better position than last weekend, the car feels good and we like these track characteristics . But we’re always a bit quicker in training than in qualifying when the others really get going.”

World champion Max Verstappen does not have to worry that the McLaren will interfere in the fight with Leclerc and Sainz: The Dutchman is also within striking distance of Ferrari, 0.283 seconds behind. Compared to the Red Bull, the Scuderia makes up its time, especially in the middle sector with the long curves, otherwise it’s another duel on an equal footing.

Also interesting: Rain is forecast for Saturday at the Hungaroring, which could throw the starting grid upside down. On Sunday it should be dry again, but also much cooler.

Mercedes with problems, fuss about German cars

This gives hope to Mercedes, among others, because despite the double podium last time in France, the Silver Arrows will follow on Friday. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton did not get better than eighth and eleventh. “It’s crazy how much it changes from track to track, but here it’s more of a struggle with the car again. We have to see how we can make it work,” says Hamilton and fears: “It was a difficult day , so it’s going to be another tough weekend for sure.”

Mercedes chief engineer Andrew Shovlin explains: “We did a few experiments in the second practice session, but they set us back, so we went in the wrong direction with the set-up. It looked better in the first session, so we’re preparing back again.” Also a factor for the rather weak performance: “Lewis suffered some damage (on the underbody; ed.) in the qualifying run, which then influenced the rest of his training,” says Shovlin.

In focus: the bead on the new rear wing from Aston-Martin

For Sebastian Vettel, the first day after announcing his retirement from F1 at the end of the season has been positive. The German made it to a strong seventh place in the afternoon session, just behind his old rival Fernando Alonso, who celebrates his 41st birthday on Friday. At the start in Budapest, the focus is primarily on Aston Martin’s new rear wing, which will still cause discussions.

Reason: With a curved, bead-like side end plate, the new wing actually contradicts the meaning of the regulations for the 2022 cars. With its solution, Aston Martin tries to prevent the outwash effect and thus generate more downforce, but also accepts more air resistance. The team expects this to be an advantage, especially on a twisty circuit like the one in Hungary.

The wing, which the team claims to have always coordinated with the FIA ​​in all development steps, is not illegal, but the competitors are already turning their noses up. And the new car of Mick Schumacher’s Haas team also occupies the opponents, because the US runabout looks even more like the Ferrari after a general overhaul.

Opponents are also watching the new Haas very closely

Team boss Günther Steiner doesn’t even deny that, saying: “We are close to Ferrari, use their engine, transmission and suspension. It’s only logical that we orientate ourselves on them, especially since they win races. Why should we copy another concept?”

Schumacher himself will not be able to enjoy the “white Ferrari” on Friday. Because Haas only has parts ready for one car, only teammate Kevin Magnussen is allowed to try out the upgrade package. He’s not much faster than Schumacher either: Less than two tenths separate the Dane and Schumacher in 16th and 17th place at the start in Budapest.

Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix
2nd free practice, result:

1. Charles Leclerc (Monaco) – Ferrari 1:18.445 mins
2. Lando Norris (Great Britain) – McLaren +0.217s
3. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) – Ferrari +0.231
4. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – Red Bull +0.283
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) – McLaren +0.427
6. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Alpine +0.604
7. Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim) – Aston Martin +0.808
8. George Russell (Great Britain) – Williams +0.910
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) – Red Bull +0.952
10. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) – Alfa Romeo +0.966
11. Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) – Mercedes +1.102
12. Zhou Guanyu (China) – Alfa Romeo +1.160
13. Esteban Ocon (France) – Alpine +1.169
14. Lance Stroll (Canada) – Aston Martin +1.257
15. Pierre Gasly (France) – Alpha Tauri +1.285
16. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) – Haas +1.373
17. Mick Schumacher (Gland/Switzerland) – Haas +1.540
18. Nicholas Latifi (Canada) – Williams +2,043
19. Yuki Tsunoda (Japan) – Alpha Tauri +2.076
20. Alexander Albon (Thailand) – Williams +2.170

Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix
1st free practice, result:

1. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) – Ferrari 1:18.750 mins
2. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – Red Bull +0.130s
3. Charles Leclerc (Monaco) – Ferrari +0.289
4. Lando Norris (Great Britain) – McLaren +0.549
5. George Russell (Great Britain) – Williams +0.856
6. Sergio Perez (Mexico) – Red Bull +0.872
7. Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) – Mercedes +0.960
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) – McLaren +1.091
9. Esteban Ocon (France) – Alpine +1.598
10. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Alpine +1.627
11. Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim) – Aston Martin +1.633
12. Lance Stroll (Canada) – Aston Martin +1.664
13. Pierre Gasly (France) – Alpha Tauri +1.706
14. Yuki Tsunoda (Japan) – Alpha Tauri +1.945
15. Zhou Guanyu (China) – Alfa Romeo +2.060
16.Alexander Albon (Thailand)-Williams +2.084
17. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) – Haas +2.171
18. Mick Schumacher (Gland/Switzerland) – Haas +2.277
19. Robert Kubica (Poland) – Alfa Romeo +2.429
20. Nicholas Latifi (Canada) – Williams +2,663

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