After closing out first practice in first and second place, Red Bull continued to dominate proceedings in Hungary this afternoon as Sebastian Vettel once again led home Mark Webber at the top of the timesheets in FP2.
The session once again took place in hot and dry conditions as the teams experimented with the soft tire for the first time this weekend, running qualifying simulation laps early on before focusing on the fuelled runs later on in the session on the medium tire.
Just as they did in the first session, Red Bull looked impressive on their low-fuel laps but the stand-out fact was that on the long runs both Vettel and Webber were in a different league to their closest rivals.
Ferrari and Lotus also continued to impress as the high temperature in Hungary appears to suit both teams. Romain Grosjean was the nearest challenger to Vettel and Webber at the top with the Lotus driver closely followed by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Mercedes, despite being expected to struggle at the Hungaroring, came home 6th and 7th with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Nico Rosberg as the Silver Arrows look to cut into Red Bull’s lead in the constructors’ championship. However, it would be hard to best against either Vettel or Webber taking the win on Sunday judging by their practice form.
Force India and McLaren continued to fight over the final few places in the top ten with Jenson Button edging out Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, but Toro Rosso endured a difficult session as Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo could only manage P16 and P17.
This is the second time in 2013 that Vettel has finished both Friday sessions in first place, having achieved the same feat at the Australian Grand Prix at the beginning of the season.
Scuderia Ferrari has taken the wraps off its 2017 chassis as the launch week continues for this year’s Formula 1 cars.
Despite the loss of technical director James Allison to Mercedes and after going through an underwhelming, winless 2016 season – at least by Ferrari standards – the team looks for a bounce back this year to coincide with the new regulations.
The renamed SF70H, which follows on last year’s SF16-H, was revealed online in a quick video without any buildup or dialogue from any of the key team stakeholders.
Noticeable on this car is the shark fin element, again with a winglet on the top of it.
The launch is the first of two today, with McLaren’s reveal of the MCL32 coming in a couple hours.
It seems to be the winter of all-stars from other racing disciplines testing in IndyCar.
Today Ricky Taylor joined the list of those stars from the closed-top sports car or touring car world on the winter IndyCar test list, with a one-off guest test for Team Penske in defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud’s No. 1 PPG Chevrolet.
The older of two Taylor brothers, who completed a star turn at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona en route to delivering the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R an overall win with brother Jordan, Max Angelelli and Jeff Gordon, made his maiden laps at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course.
Chevrolet and General Motors extended the test offer to Ricky Taylor for this opportunity. Fittingly for Pagenaud, it’s the second time in not even a year he’s given up his seat to another member of either the GM or Penske family; Brad Keselowski made a similar out-of-nowhere one-off test at Road America last year.
“Every driver dreams to be an Indy car driver,” Taylor said, via IndyCar.com. It can’t hurt to be involved with (Team Penske); there are no negatives to that. To get to know all the guys and get to drive the car and get an actual feel for it in a low-pressure environment is a great opportunity for me. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything, it’s a big learning opportunity.”
With Ricky Taylor completing this test and with Robert Wickens and Pipo Derani set to test next week at Sebring’s short course, there’s been a sudden series of additional interest in the final few runs before the IndyCar season opens on March 12.
And with Ricky Taylor in Homestead today, it was left to Jordan Taylor and the Konica Minolta team’s new third driver, Englishman Alex Lynn, to run solo today as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship February test at Sebring’s full course. Lynn will make his U.S. race debut in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, to be held March 18. Ricky Taylor will be back at Sebring for the second day of the IMSA test, held Friday.
2016 GP3 Series runner-up Alexander Albon has announced that he will move into GP2 for 2017 with ART Grand Prix, completing the team’s line-up.
Albon, 20, finished second behind Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc in GP3 last year with ART, racking up four race wins through his rookie campaign.
The Thai youngster will now continue with ART in GP2, partnering McLaren youngster Nobuharu Matsushita through 2017.
“I am really excited to be working with ART Grand Prix for a second year. I learnt a huge amount last year and we have become one big close family,” Albon said.
“Moving up to the GP2 series is an important step in anyone’s career and I am extremely fortunate to be with a top team who already understand me.
“There’s a lot to learn coming from GP3, and the experience and method of working at ART Grand Prix is the reason they have won so many titles. I hope I will continue to proudly wear Thailand’s colours and those of my faithful Thai partners.
“I look forward to the new challenge and cannot wait for the season to begin!”
The new GP2 season will begin in Bahrain on April 15.