Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Hungaroring, 2020

Racing Point beat their best 2019 lap time in only dry session so far

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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While debate over Renault’s protest against Racing Point continues at the Hungaroring, the pink team continues to show a remarkable step forward in performance compared to last year.

At this race 12 months ago neither of its cars got out of Q1. They were the only team all year to be beaten by Williams in a qualifying session, as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll lost out to George Russell.

But 12 months on they lapped over half a second quicker in the only dry session so far, on a dusty, low-grip surface. No other team has got within six-tenths of a second of their best lap time from last year.

That includes Red Bull, who were nearly three seconds off their 2019 benchmark as they concentrated on development work in first practice. Rain in the afternoon completely obscured any picture of their potential.

However Max Verstappen’s verdict on their first day of running was: “Not so good.”

“[There’s] plenty to look into,” said last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix pole-winner. “Of course a little bit of a shame that it was raining in the second practice otherwise I think we already could have had a look. But a lot of work to do.”

Red Bull were widely expected to be the strongest challenger to Mercedes. The two black cars topped the times sheets again, Valtteri Bottas slightly shy of Lewis Hamilton, but confident he can make up the deficit.

“It seemed like we were in a good place,” he said. “Balance-wise myself, I was struggling quite a bit with understeer but that can be normally fixed. So I think not a bad start.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2020
Practice did not go smoothly for McLaren
McLaren, who starred in Austria, did not have a great Friday. “It’s weird,” said Carlos Sainz Jnr, concurring with his team mate’s assessment. “There was nothing fundamentally wrong with the car it’s just the lap time and the way they we made the tyres work, we were not switching them on the way we want to do.”

The inclement conditions which made hard work of reading the teams’ performance on Friday looks set to continue. Pierre Gasly, who hasn’t turned a dry lap yet, is hoping the rain returns.

“I would love a wet race,” he said. “I think tomorrow it seems to be slightly better than expected at the beginning of the weekend so I think we should get a dry quali. This morning for Danny [Kvyat] it was quite difficult for us on the dry. So let’s see what we can do tomorrow.

“But I think if it’s wet on Sunday, a wet start and drying conditions, it’s always more fun for us and also for you guys to watch. So I wouldn’t not mind that.”

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Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’16.00337
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’16.0891’40.73642
3Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’16.5301’42.47025
4Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’16.9671’42.38041
5Daniel RicciardoRenault1’17.20029
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1’17.2381’40.46438
7Charles LeclercFerrari1’17.4041’43.72539
8Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’17.4351’42.82032
9Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’17.5231’46.00031
10Esteban OconRenault1’17.61535
11Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’17.6751’41.78438
12Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’17.71335
13Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’17.72730
14Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’17.8901’43.33541
15Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’17.96933
16Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.2921’47.42242
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.4251’44.41139
18George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’18.57431
19Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.15026
20Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’42.5887
21Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’43.47116

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2020 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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3 comments on “Racing Point beat their best 2019 lap time in only dry session so far”

  1. Good for them before they get excluded from the championship, alongside Mercedes.

  2. Renault-Ferrari? :)

    1. This made me chuckle!

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