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Hungary in-season F1 test, day 1

Prior to the summer break Formula One teams are taking advantange of the in-season test before packing up and leaving the Hungaroring. Formula One rules dictate that two days of each in-season test must be allocated to young-driver training, which is classified as someone who has competed in two or fewer grands prix.

Mercedes had for the first time ever, George Russell behind the wheel of the W08 EQ Power+ and ended the day fourth on the timesheet, clocking a 1:19.231 on the SuperSoft compound tire in the afternoon.

"Today was incredible." said Russell "I have been looking forward to this day for so long. It's every young driver's dream to drive a Formula 1 car. As soon as I got on track, I straightaway understood how much grip and downforce this car has got - it is amazing. 48 hours ago I was driving a GP3 car around the same track, but today was totally different. Luckily for me I had done lots of simulator work with Mercedes, so I knew what to expect. The biggest difference is the power steering in the Formula 1 car, and I could feel that as soon as I got out on track. And the braking potential is enormous. I was expecting the speed on the straight and the downforce in the corners, as everyone does. But I don't think anyone quite understands the braking power of this machine. In GP3 we enter into Turn 1 at about 260 or 270 km/h, braking at the 100 metre board. Today, I was going in at almost 300 km/h, braking 25 metres after what I would do in GP3. Today mostly consisted of longer runs with higher fuel loads. We wanted to see the degradation of the tyres, and mainly trying to work for the race simulations. I was quite happy with my performance. For my first time in the car, completing 119 laps and not being far from Valtteri - I'm pretty pleased with that."

Valtteri Bottas completed 155 laps for the Pirelli program on 2018 Slick tire development and was third quick with a lap of 1:18.732.

At the Haas camp American racer Santino Ferrucci began his second stint in a Formula One car as he drove the Haas VF-17 during the first of two days of open testing.

The 19-year-old from Woodbury, Connecticut, is Haas F1 Team’s development driver and tested for Haas F1 Team last July at England’s Silverstone Circuit. In doing so, Ferrucci became the first American driver to steer an American Formula One car since Oct. 9, 1977 when Danny Ongais drove a Penske PC4 in the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Ferrucci was the first driver out on the circuit when the track went green at 9 a.m. local time. He began with stock reconnaissance runs starting with a double installation lap on Pirelli P Zero White medium tires followed by two timed stints on the same compound for 10 laps and nine laps, respectively. Halfway through the session, Ferrucci switched to Yellow soft tires, logging 33 laps across three new sets before the 1 p.m. lunchbreak. Ferrucci’s best mark during the morning session was a 1:21.654 earned on his 44th lap.

Ferrucci ran exclusively on soft tires in the afternoon, recording 47 laps with a program blending runs on used and new tires. Two short stints on used tires were followed by two eight-lap runs on fresh tires. It was on the latter of these outings where Ferrucci set his quickest time of the day, a 1:21.185 on his 80th lap that placed him 10th among the 12 drivers participating in the test. Ferrucci closed the day with three further tours on used softs to take his final lap tally to 102.

Williams driver Lance Stroll put in 138 laps.

"We tried some new stuff and it was good to have more time in the seat." said Stroll "It was warm, it was a hot day and it’s physical around here so it’s good training. We need to see if what we tested here today works in Spa, we need more running with the new parts to see if they work but Spa should definitely suit our car with longer straights so I’m looking forward to it."

Sahara Force India had a productive day in Budapest as Nikita Mazepin and debutant Lucas Auer completed 106 laps between them.

Mazepin said, “It’s been a long year since I tested in Silverstone and I have been looking forward to getting back in the car all this time. It was another great experience and I enjoyed working with the team. I was interested to experience these new cars and so far I am satisfied. The morning went quite well and I am happy with how things worked out for me. I am looking forward to tomorrow afternoon – tonight I will be analysing what I did, see what the team’s plan is and see where I can improve tomorrow.”

Auer added, “First, I want to say a big thank you to the whole Sahara Force India team for making this possible. It was an incredible experience. When I went out of the pits and I released the limiter it was a bit of a shock. The speed is incredible, especially through the corners. I felt really confident and the team gave me a few runs to settle into the car. My main priority was not to damage anything – the team asked me for consistency, to put in the laps and go through the run plan. These cars are very physical and in the first two runs I was really feeling it. You keep turning, you keep pushing and you don’t get to breathe because you’re not yet in a rhythm. It gets a bit easier as you get used to it. I am looking forward to another run tomorrow morning and hopefully I will be able to show a little more of what I can do.”

Max Verstappen was back at the wheel of Red Bull Racing's RB13. While Max’s start was delayed due to a technical issue, the Dutch driver was eventually able to post 58 laps of the tight and twisting circuit.

Commenting on his final test day of the season, Max said: “Despite the late start we managed to test quite a few bits on the car today, so that’s positive. It’s always good to understand where we are, what we can bring and what we can learn for the upcoming races. Aside from the issue this morning, we had some updates here and in general everything worked well and it gives us a few new directions to work on for the future. Now we head into the summer break, so I’ll spend some time with family and friends before Spa. We travel so much that it’s always nice to catch up but after that I’ll be happy to go again, especially at Spa where I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of Dutch fans in the grandstands.”

At Ferrari a final lap time of 1:17.746, on the Soft tires was also the fastest lap overall on the day. But for Charles Leclerc, the Ferrari Driver Academy student and current leader of the F2 championship, the stopwatch readout was not the most important aspect of this day.

“Driving a Ferrari is never a ‘normal’ experience,” commented the 19 year old Monegasque driver. "I felt as though I was driving a race car for the very first time. It’s a great honour I have been accorded and I thank Ferrari with all my heart for this opportunity. I am pleased with the work I did and I hope the team is too. Driving the SF70H was a fantastic feeling and coming from F2, it’s a whole other world, from every point of view. It was the first time that I’ve driven a Formula 1 car with the wider tyres and this level of aerodynamic downforce and it was an incredible feeling. I also learned a lot from the work in the garage: Ferrari has the best engineers in the world and I felt very comfortable working with them. To set the fastest time is nice, but, in testing, its importance is only relative. I can now go on holiday in a happy mood, before concentrating on the second part of the F2 season. For the moment, Formula 1 is just a dream. I still have work to do and I know that: one step at a time.”

1. C. Leclerc Ferrari 1:17.746 97 / 98
2. S. Vandoorne McLaren 1:17.834 56 / 72
3. V. Bottas Mercedes 1:18.732 109 / 155
4. G. Russell Mercedes 1:19.231 100 / 119
5. L. Stroll WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:19.866 44 / 138
6. N. Mazepin Force India 1:19.910 35 / 52
7. N. Latifi Renault 1:20.302 32 / 54
8. S. Gelael Toro Rosso 1:20.341 92 / 101
9. L. Auer Force India 1:20.563 37 / 54
10. S. Ferrucci Haas 1:21.185 79 / 102
11. M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:21.228 17 / 58
12. G. Malja Sauber 1:21.503 88 / 108

08/02/17

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