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Ricciardo heads times in Friday practice for Hungarian GP

Daniel Ricciardo set the pace for Red Bull Racing on Friday in practice for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the eleventh round in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship and the final event before F1’s summer break.

Ricciardo made the most of the updates to the RB13 to head both sessions at the Hungaroring, setting a 1 minute 18.486 second lap in the morning (0.234secs up on his closest rival), before improving slightly in the afternoon with a 1m 18.455s – although both sessions were interrupted by red flag periods and some runners, including Hamilton, failed to set a time in FP2 on the quicker supersoft tyres.

“I can’t complain with that day after topping both sessions, it’s nice. We obviously brought some updates here and they seem to be working, I definitely feel like we have found some grip in various areas and taken a step in the right direction,” said Ricciardo.

“We know this track usually suits us so it was important to come here and extract everything we could out of the car and make sure the updates did their job which in turn can allow us to fight with the guys up front.”

“Being top of the timesheets is always nice but we were able to replicate that pace in the long runs [too] which gives me confidence looking ahead to the rest of the weekend and achieving a solid result in qualifying tomorrow,” he added.

“I’m sure the other teams will bring a bit more tomorrow, but I also think we have a bit more to find.”

Behind, Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was second quickest in his Ferrari, 0.183secs off Ricciardo, and 0.018secs up on Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes in third.

“This morning I wasn’t that happy, but in the afternoon I started getting the rhythm. So, I think we were not that bad, but it’s difficult to read the session. Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are very close to each other. It should be good fun tomorrow,” Vettel remarked.

Kimi Raikkonen took fourth – fractionally slower in FP2 than he was in FP1 – and three tenths off the pace set by Ricciardo. The Finn stopped out on track in the second session and reported ‘no power’, but was able to continue after Ferrari re-set the system.

Hamilton ended the day in P5, 0.024secs further back in his Merc, with Max Verstappen sixth in the second Red Bull.

“It wasn’t the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty. We end the day in fifth but there’s clearly good pace in the car. It’s super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it’s looking like it will be an exciting weekend,” Hamilton noted.

“That should be good for the fans! There’s some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it and I believe the pace is in there. We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix.”

Further back, Nico Hulkenberg was ‘best of the rest’ for Renault in seventh, although team-mate Jolyon Palmer had another miserable day, twice bringing out the red flags. The first off happened at the end of the morning session when the Brit – who was tenth quickest – ran wide on the kerbs on the exit of Turn 4, damaging his car and ripping off the front wing. He then had a more serious off with 20 minutes remaining in FP2 when he lost it in Turn 11 and put it in the barriers.

Palmer, however, was not the only driver in trouble at Turn 11, with Antonio Giovinazzi and Pascal Wehrlein also crashing at that spot.

Giovinazzi – who was getting his second FP1 run out with Haas – made the error at the end of the first third of the morning session, while Wehrlein got it wrong in FP2, about 20 minutes prior to Palmer, describing the off as ‘massive’.

Meanwhile, McLaren-Honda duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne took eighth and tenth, sandwiching the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.

Esteban Ocon, who sat out FP1 while Alfonso Celis drove his car, was P11 for Force India, two tenths up on team-mate Sergio Perez, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and the Williams’ of Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa – the latter twice spinning in FP2 – filling positions 13 through to 15.

Of the rest, after Palmer in 16th, Kevin Magnussen was 17th – only doing 11 laps and missing most of FP2 as a result of Giovinazzi’s Turn 11 off. Romain Grosjean then ended up in P18 in the other Haas – brushing the Turn 9 barriers 4 laps into FP1 and needing a new rear wing as a result, with the Sauber’s of Marcus Ericsson and Wehrlein at the bottom of the times, more than 3 seconds off the pace. Grosjean, like Raikkonen, Massa and Palmer, failed to improve in the afternoon.

Practice 2 times available – HERE

Practice 1 times available – HERE

Picture credit: Red Bull Racing

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