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Arrivabene: Hungary F1 win proved Ferrari’s strength of character

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Ferrari Formula 1 chief Maurizio Arrivabene felt the Italian marque’s victory in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix proved its strength of character after soaking up the pressure from rival team Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel nursed his car to victory despite struggling with a handling issue for much of the race, causing him to slow and come under pressure from teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel held on to head up a one-two finish for Ferrari, marking its first victory in two months and extending the German’s lead at the top of the drivers’ championship heading into the summer break.

Team principal Arrivabene was full of praise for both drivers speaking after the race, believing the victory against the odds was a reflection of Ferrari’s DNA.

“A great race and a result obtained in far from easy circumstances,” Arrivabene said of the race win.

“Once again it demonstrated the strength of character at Ferrari. Congratulations to the guys here and back in Maranello, working together in what is the mark of a great team.

“Seb drove a magnificent race, managing to keep the lead despite the problem with the steering wheel. He was helped by a great performance from Kimi who demonstrated, not only that he is a champion, but also that he is a true team-player.”

The performance from Raikkonen appears to have boosted his chances of keeping his Ferrari race seat for 2018, with CEO Sergio Marchionne being quoted in Hungary as saying the Finn’s odds of being retained were better than 50 per cent.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.