Hungarian GP | Ricciardo tops FP2, Wehrlein, Palmer bring out red flags

Daniel Ricciardo tops free practice two at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Atop the timesheets once again sat Daniel Ricciardo at the Hungaroring. Putting his upgraded Red Bull ahead of the field on the supersoft tyres, above Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton missed his chance at a flying lap thanks to yellow flags for Felipe Massa and a red flag when Pascal Wehlrein suffered a heavy head on crash at Turn 11.

When the green light flicked on to welcome Formula One back to the Hungaroring, no driver opted to immediately hit the track. With Kevin Magnussen continuing to watch on from the pitwall after Haas handed Antonio Giovinazzi a practice run in FP1 only for the Italian to crash.

Soon, though, Kimi Raikkonen broke the silence as he crept out of the Ferrari garage for his first run of the afternoon. Immediately posting a 1:20.085 on the soft compound tyre.

As more drivers hit the track, the compound of choice remained the soft yellow-walled Pirelli’s. The middle compound on offer this weekend, and the likely race tyre on the favourable one-stop strategy.

For now, however, race pace was not the focus as Valtteri Bottas moved top on a 1:19.591 before taking a tenth off his best to improve to a 1:19.546.

Times continued to fall as more frontrunners completed their opening runs. Seeing Hamilton first move top on a 1:19.373, despite reporting he could hear a whistling note coming from his engine.

Both Red Bull’s improving soon split the Silver Arrows. But while they improved, they remained half a second down on Hamilton’s improved pace. With Lewis the first to move inside the 1:18s to snatch P1 straight back from Ricciardo.

Daniel had topped the opening session of the weekend, edging Kimi Raikkonen to the top spot while two red flags interrupted the session. Ricciardo was also running a heavily upgraded package on board his Red Bull, featuring a new front wing and greater emphasis on energising the rear wing via the monkey seat.

As for the red flags, the first came when FP1 stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi carried too much speed into Turn 9 and crashed Kevin Magnussen’s Haas as he slid into the barrier. Then, later on, the session ended under red flags as Jolyon Palmer overrun Turn 4 and shattered his front wing on the modified far kerb.

Between first and second practice, F1’s safety delegate and race director took to the track to inspect the kerb at Turn 4. Checking whether or not it requires any form of modification in order to prevent any further incident like Palmer’s.

Lance Stroll, too, must have looked at Palmer’s incident as the Canadian with one podium finish to his name intentionally avoided the kerb at Turn 4 after he ran wide early on in FP2.

Romain Grosjean, meanwhile, was suffering a troubled start to his session. Reporting no front end on multiple occasions and questioning if his mechanics had set the car up correctly.

“Guys, is the balance correct? I have a mountain of understeer,” bemoaned Grosjean.

As Romain’s understeer continued, his frustrations grew more and more before returning to the radio. “I think we’ve got an issue,” came the message. “It’s getting worse and worse. Look, look!”

A look at the leaderboard would also have revealed Romain had slipped to 18th place, the last slot filled by a driver who had completed a timed lap. With Palmer and Magnussen the only drivers yet to run.

Palmer eventually joined the action half an hour into the session. With Renault having to first repair his R.S.17 from his morning damage, while also fitting new parts to the cars as they arrived throughout the day.

Worryingly, when Palmer eventually took to the track smoke gently flowed from the rear of his Renault. But fortunately, the smoke was not another power unit problem for the Burton, but rather the plank underneath the car rubbing on the floor.

Being fitted at Ferrari, meanwhile, was the supersoft tyres. With the silence breaking Kimi Raikkonen first to run the red-branded compound in the afternoon session.

With the softest compound fitted, Raikkonen improved by more than a second to his initial delta. Moving up to second place, at first, before improving again to mount a challenge to Hamilton’s pace. Instantly bettered by Vettel, and soon Bottas. Although Sebastian Vettel’s benchmark pace only sat a tenth of a second up on Hamilton’s soft tyre time.

Hamilton’s best time for FP2 remained his lap on the soft compound tyre throughout the session thanks to yellow flags halting his runs on the supersoft tyres.

One of which came thanks to Kimi Raikkonen, as the Finn was forced to ease to a halt at the penultimate corner after reporting a loss of power. Parking up at the bottom of the slight hill, and able to reboot the engine to return home.

Raikkonen’s former Ferrari team-mate from his championship winning season, Felipe Massa, too caused a spell of yellow flags as he spun at Turn 5. Losing the rear mid-way through the right-hander, before then spinning at Turn 6 a few laps later on.

In a brief period of clean running, a string of improving sectors saw Daniel Ricciardo move top on the supersoft tyres thanks to a strong second sector. A purple sector three on the following lap then saw Daniel narrowly miss improving again.

Soon, though, no drivers could improve their times as the red flags were waved once again at the Hungaroring. This time, thanks to Pascal Wehrlein as the German found himself buried in the tyre wall after catching an initial snap of oversteer only for the car to flick left and send Wehrlein straight on.

Thankfully, despite damage to the Sauber’s front left suspension, right front brake, floor, and sidepod, Pascal was able to climb free straight away and inform the team he was ok. But went to the medical centre for precautionary checks, hopefully not aggravating his pre-season injury that ruled the German out of the opening two rounds.

The red flag period meant an end to flying runs with all teams switching focus for the final half hour to race pace. Yet once back underway, Grosjean returned to the radio complaining “one lap understeer, next lap oversteer” as he continued to struggle for consistent running for Haas.

Stoffel Vandoorne, too, was hit by late issues as the team told the Belgian “we’re going to box. Drive back slowly please.” With Vandoorne noting a “very strange noise” on way back to the pits.

Vandoorne’s early end came just prior to another red flag period as Jolyon Palmer suffered a similar fate to Pascal Wehrlein as he crashed at the final corner. Catching the initial kick of oversteer, only to be sent spinning in the opposite direction before hitting the barrier and destroying the rear right suspension, rear wing, and floor of the Renault.

After crashing, Palmer was asked: “is the car ok?”. With a direct response of “no.”

Pos Driver Team Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG 32 1’18.455
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 28 1’18.638 0.183
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 33 1’18.656 0.201
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 28 1’18.755 0.3
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 31 1’18.779 0.324
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG 25 1’18.951 0.496
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 33 1’19.714 1.259
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 31 1’19.815 1.36
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso Renault 35 1’19.834 1.379
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 18 1’19.909 1.454
11 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 34 1’20.126 1.671
12 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 33 1’20.266 1.811
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 37 1’20.577 2.122
14 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 31 1’20.791 2.336
15 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 22 1’20.869 2.414
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault 12 1’21.175 2.72
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 11 1’21.345 2.89
18 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 25 1’21.504 3.049
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 31 1’21.559 3.104
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 16 1’21.722 3.267

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