F1: Charles Leclerc tops Hungarian Grand Prix practice as Red Bull takes it easy | Inquirer Sports

F1: Charles Leclerc tops Hungarian Grand Prix practice as Red Bull takes it easy

/ 02:20 PM July 22, 2023

Charles Leclerc Hungarian Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc drives his car during the second practice session at the Hungaroring race track in Mogyorod near Budapest on July 21, 2023, ahead of the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)

Charles Leclerc topped the times for Ferrari ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris in Friday’s second free practice for the weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

In an orderly, if unexceptional session, following the crash and rain-hit opening hour, the Red Bull and Mercedes teams opted not to attempt low-fuel high-speed lapping.


It meant none of their drivers ended in the top ten of an unfamiliar order.


Leclerc clocked a best lap of 1min and 17.686sec to outpace Norris by 0.015sec. Pierre Gasly was third for Alpine ahead of Yuki Tsunoda’s Alpha Tauri and Esteban Ocon, in the second Alpine.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Haas ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

Aston Martin’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was next, followed by Zhou Guanyu in the second Alfa and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who had crashed in the morning session.

Defending double world champion Max Verstappen was 11th for Red Bull with troubled team-mate Sergio Perez 18th.

For Mercedes, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was 16th and George Russell 20th.


After a rain-swept opening session, punctuated by crashes and red flags, the second practice began in better conditions with an air temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.

The Williams drivers set early fastest laps and trimmed their times to stay on top as Norris joined the fray.

Perez, stung by a heavy crash in the free practice, was soon up to sixth in his repaired Red Bull while Daniel Ricciardo, making his Alpha Tauri debut, was 14th after 11 laps.

Verstappen delayed his entry until the 20th minute in his upgraded Red Bull and slotted into second behind Logan Sargeant before Alexander Albon maintained Williams’ surge by topping his team-mate.

As the track improved, the lap times fell and Hulkenberg, sporting bleached blond hair to provoke ‘Ken’ comparisons with the newly-released Barbie movie, and Tsunoda took command.

Norris then clocked 1:17.701 to go top, on soft tyres, before being replaced after six minutes by Leclerc, in 1:17.686. The big hitters were announcing their arrival.

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After the incident-filled earlier session, this was a routine practice and with 16 minutes remaining, Verstappen returned on softs only to secure 11th place while Perez, on mediums, was 18th.

In unpredictable conditions, this was an unpredictable day.


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TAGS: Charles Leclerc, F1, Hungarian Grand Prix

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