Red Bull make gains but Hamilton has soft tyre performance edge

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Red Bull’s upgraded RB13 delivered for the team on Friday at the Hungaroring, allowing Daniel Ricciardo to top both practice sessions.

“Being top of the time sheets is always nice,” he said, “but we were able to replicate that pace in the long runs which gives me confidence looking ahead to the rest of the weekend.”

Team mate Max Verstappen was around half a second off Ricciardo’s pace, but nonetheless admitted he is “finally feeling good in the car” at the 11th round of the season.

Hungarian Grand Prix practice in pictures
It’s an encouraging start for Red Bull, who last year were over half a second off the best time on Friday and got a few tenths closer to the pace-setting Mercedes by the time qualifying rolled round. As ever Mercedes can be expected to have some engine performance in hand for tomorrow, but that’s not going to make as big a difference on a track like this with so few straights.

Mercedes, however, seem to have some work to do on unlocking the maximum from the ‘qualifying tyre’. “The pace was quite good on the soft tyre,” said Lewis Hamilton, “I just didn’t get a run on the super-soft.” The good news for Hamilton was that no one went quicker than him on the soft tyre.

But it’s clear Mercedes have more of a battle on their hands than they did two weeks ago. “I guess after all the fun of Silverstone, it’s back down to hard work here in Hungary,” said technical director James Allison. “The leading cars are all very close and it’s going to be a proper fight this weekend.”

It’s not just Red Bull that Mercedes have to be wary of, but Ferrari too. Sebastian Vettel out-paced them on Friday, raising the prospect of the closest three-way fight we’ve enjoyed so far this season.

The upgrade package Renault introduced at Silverstone appears to still be working well for the team, though Jolyon Palmer did his best to destroy the new bits on his RS17 with a pair of errors during the first day of running.

McLaren have also made good on their potential so far with both drivers inside the top ten. “We’re a little bit more competitive here than we were in the last couple of races,” said Fernando Alonso. “It feels better to be able to potentially fight for Q3 and for a top ten finish.”

However it was another tough Friday for Romain Grosjean, who complained repeatedly about his car’s inconsistent balance during the two sessions. “One of our worst Fridays since we started Haas F1 Team,” was his verdict on Friday evening.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

Complete practice times

By session

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’18.486 1’18.455 63
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’19.563 1’18.638 49
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’19.248 1’18.656 63
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’18.720 1’18.755 48
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’18.858 1’18.779 62
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’19.162 1’18.951 52
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’20.150 1’19.714 58
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’19.987 1’19.815 52
9 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’20.917 1’19.834 60
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1’20.005 1’19.909 42
11 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’20.126 34
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’20.574 1’20.266 56
13 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’20.461 1’21.175 39
14 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’20.540 1’20.869 50
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’20.780 1’20.577 64
16 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’20.974 1’20.791 60
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’21.313 1’21.504 45
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’21.345 11
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’21.785 1’21.559 62
20 Alfonso Celis Force India-Mercedes 1’21.602 24
21 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.490 1’21.722 45
22 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas-Ferrari 1’22.251 8

By tyre

Driver Team Super-soft best Soft best Medium best
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’18.858 1’18.779 1’35.916
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’18.656 1’19.546 1’35.230
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’18.455 1’19.005 None
Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’18.951 1’19.383 1’30.378
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’18.638 1’19.698 4’08.096
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’18.720 1’20.038 4’03.096
Sergio Perez Force India 1’20.266 1’21.263 None
Esteban Ocon Force India 1’20.126 1’21.389 None
Felipe Massa Williams 1’20.540 1’20.869 1’30.807
Lance Stroll Williams 1’20.791 1’21.466 6’31.096
Fernando Alonso McLaren 1’19.815 1’20.485 None
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1’19.909 1’20.777 5’09.096
Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 1’19.834 1’20.600 3’59.096
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’20.577 1’20.742 2’03.578
Romain Grosjean Haas 1’23.968 1’21.313 4’28.096
Kevin Magnussen Haas 1’21.345 72’56.096 None
Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’19.714 1’20.896 2’11.412
Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’20.461 1’22.474 1’58.007
Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1’21.559 1’22.301 None
Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1’21.722 1’22.317 None
Antonio Giovinazzi Haas None 1’22.251 4’01.096
Alfonso Celis Force India 1’21.602 None None

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Red Bull make gains but Hamilton has soft tyre performance edge”

  1. Shouldn’t it be Ricciardo on the main picture then.

    1. It’s a cool picture of Hamilton, a championship contender, who is struggling apparently. So why not?

      1. Besides, we’re all fans of Hamilton, we can never have enough of the best driver in F1, can we? :)

        1. Seriously did you just push the button for the HAM-VET war?

          I mean come on Vettel is the best driver out there, a class above the rest, Alonso and Hamilton can only come a close second.

          I think someone also forgot how in 2008 in a track lying somewhere in Italy called Monza, Vettel extracted every bit of it from his Torro Rosso and got a maiden win !

          HAM is yet to prove himself in a noncompetitive car. That will also never happen, ever, unless maybe if he goes to Mclaren sometime ! :D

          1. @redbullf1 Vettel the best? Couldn’t even beat Ricciardo, let alone Alonso and Hamilton, who are a class above Vettel with Ricciardo and Verstappen imo. And Vettel fans need to stop using Monza 2008 in every argument. It’s not as if he won with a car that was a backmarker that weekend, the Toro Rosso was set up perfectly for those rainy conditions. Don’t believe me? Vettel’s very average teammate Bourdais qualified 3rd. I’m not saying it was unremarkable, because it was, but it wasn’t a divine performance.

          2. Sebastian wasn’t the class of the act between himself, and Lewis during the U.S. GP at Austin in 2012. That was one of the best, and most exciting battle that we have seen between those two, at that time in their careers. Although Lewis had won, and even Sebastian during the cool down lap, turned to Hamilton, and gave him a congratulatory wave in his victory. A very class act on Vettel’s part.

          3. @mashiat

            Agree 2014 wasn’t the best of seasons for Vettel,

            There are several reasons – March 2014 – Vettel had the most minimal testing times in his car due to failures.

            He became a father that year, an F1 driver needs to be at 100% focus mentally if he needs to perform at his best !

            Michael Schumacher’s incident which happened on December 2013 also contributed to losing his focus, remember that Vettel looks up to Michael in everything he does. He dedicated his first win in a Ferrari to Michael.

          4. Max and Ric are best drivers in F1 by country mile..Vet got thrashed by Ric and Lewis is up and down depending on how he feels or whats going on in personal life…Max in Braz was best l have seen….what are u guys talking about????

          5. In 2008, Vettel was driving a Red Bull with a Ferrari engine– not a bad combination.

            In 2009, Hamilton was driving a dogsled. And won two races with it.

            Also, Hamilton is the only driver in this century to win the driver’s championship without his team winning the constructor’s championship.

          6. @bogaaaa

            Did you just say, Max in Brazil was the best you every saw? Does that mean you only started watching F1 last year?

          7. @grat That McLaren towards the end of the season was not a dogsled. Even Kovaleinen managed to get podiums with that car. And speaking of Heikki, he’s also the reason “Hamilton is the only driver in this century to win the driver’s championship without his team winning the constructor’s championship.” Not much of an achievement. Raikkonen would have done so as well in 2007 if McLaren had not been DQd from the championship.

    2. He’s appeared on three articles today after being fastest, but the analysis and picture shows who might be his opponent. Gotta shake it up, it’s fine.

      1. @hunocsi

        He’s appeared on three articles today


        1. Lol @keithcollantine trying to make everyone happy

    3. @anon No!!

    4. Maybe, but the lede here clearly is that Hamilton lies in wait. His soft tire performance is 3 tenths clear of the field and he didn’t do a proper supersoft run.

      For the championship chase, this is just when we needed RBR to thrown themselves in the mix. If Hamilton or Vettel put a foot wrong tomorrow, he could see himself starting 6th with the title rival on pole, and few chances to pass a competitive car on track here. Or they could both choke and see Bottas vault himself right into the title hunt.

      1. @dmw

        Yes that is what I like about RedBull , they never lose their underdog charisma !

      2. Red Bull will be in the mix for one race, because come Spa & Monza, its return to normal service for Mercedes

        1. Kgn11 l saw senna in a toleman live in monaco also true!!! He was robbed by the french with a red flag when he was reeling in prost…rate maxie’s a better drive though…l think l have pubic hair older than u.

  2. Wow, the medium looks to be a good race tyre. For Stroll, only 5 minutes a lap off the pace!

  3. deMercer (@)
    28th July 2017, 18:37

    … Jolyon Palmer did his best to destroy the new bits on his RS17 …

    Awesome formulated! :-D

  4. Racerdude7730
    28th July 2017, 20:16

    They keep talking about Ferrari not having a place for their young drivers. What I don’t get is why don’t they have a B team like Red Bull it’s not like they don’t have the money for it and the FIA said they have room for at least 2 more teams. It would fill the grid and help Ferrari. I know HAAS was supposed to be a B team but they arnt at this point. They seem to do as they please for the most part

  5. Racerdude7730
    28th July 2017, 20:58

    So after killing his car twice today do we think Renault will change their stance on keeping palmer in the car? They can’t keep him at this point. Whatever money he may bring is not worth the money they have spent on his cars. Kubica has to be in the car after this weekend if the test goes well. On another note If he really does well at the test and Renault don’t sign him I know Ferrari like older drivers in their cars and If they let Kimi go this year wouldn’t that be a big story if Ferrari steal him away. Won’t prob happen but it’s possible

  6. My money is on Robert on the grid in Spa

Comments are closed.