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Giovinazzi sets a blistering pace at Hungary test

NEWS STORY
31/07/2018

Antonio Giovinazzi posted the fastest lap time ever witnessed at the Hungaroring today, as the second pre-season test got underway.

While it is not known how much fuel the Italian was running, and hypersofts weren't available to drivers over the Grand Prix weekend, his best time of 1:15.648 was still over half-a-second quicker than anything his Ferrari teammates achieved over the three practice sessions.

Though the timesheets record that the next quickest driver, Marcus Ericsson, posted a best time 2.507s down on Giovinazzi, rain in the afternoon meant that there was little further slick running and certainly not at that pace.

There were ten drivers in action however, while Haas has chosen to sit-out the test, Toro Rosso had two cars in action, one for the main in-season test and the other completing tests of prototype 2019 compounds for Pirelli. Brendon Hartley drove the test car while Sean Gelael was on duty for Pirelli.

A crash for Gelael in the afternoon resulted in the only red flag of the day, and it was shortly after that the rain began to fall.

Of the ten drivers on duty, only three, Ericsson, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, were the regular race drivers, the remainder being the team' test and reserves.

Hartley completed the most laps (126), ahead of Ricciardo (125), while, in the Mercedes, George Russell completed just 49.

While Gelael was testing 2019 tyre compounds, Williams and Force India took the opportunity to run 2019 front wings.

Marcus Ericsson was at the wheel of the C37 for Sauber, the Swede completed a total of 95 laps and finishing second in the overall classification with a time of 1:18.155 set on hypersoft tyres.

Despite the brief interruption caused by rain, the team completed the majority of its planned programme which consisted of mechanical set-up work, testing of new aerodynamic parts, as well as runs on various tyre compounds. The collected data will now be analysed, and the team will prepare the programme for the second day of testing tomorrow.

"It was a productive day of testing," said Ericsson. "We almost completed the planned programme, with a short interruption caused by the rain that came suddenly. Thankfully, we managed to conclude the main part before the change in weather, so it didn't affect us too much. We obtained some interesting results, and tried different set-up options for the second half of the season. Now we have to analyse the results and learn from them. It was a positive way to end the first part of the season.

"Now it is time to have a small break, and to recharge our batteries for the upcoming set of races. Give it a week and I will not be able to wait until I get back in the car, though. It will be great to come back and drive on one of the best tracks of the season in Spa-Francorchamps."

"We had a lot of interesting items to test today and plenty of work in front of us," said Brendon Hartley, who completed 126 laps. "In the morning session, we completed the most laps of any team with 94 - this was actually quite punchy in the hot conditions!

"We had another busy programme to complete in the afternoon session and ended up with a total of 126 laps, but with the unforeseen weather changes we couldn't complete all of our test items. Despite the rain at the end of the day, I have to say it was a really positive test for us!"

"We had a very busy and productive first test day, running two cars," admitted chief race engineer, Jonathan Eddolls, "one for STR and one for Pirelli - which is different to our normal testing.

"Brendon was on duty driving the STR test car and carried out a very comprehensive plan, focusing on mechanical setup tests, aero work, tyre optimization, and Power Unit tests with Honda. We completed more scientific tests we normally aren't able to carry out during a race weekend due to time constraints, running various test items on the chassis side with a view of introducing those at a later date, which were quite successful.

"There was also a number of items tested on the PU, these also performed very well. We will continue our aero work tomorrow with plans to run quite a few rakes as many teams did today. Other items included a further understanding of the tyres in these extremely hot conditions; I think we've made very good progress during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, however, we wanted to confirm all of our findings and try to improve further. It was an extremely productive day, and there's some really positive performance items that have come out of testing which we can look forward to introducing in future races. We will run two cars again tomorrow with Brendon and Pierre sharing duties in the Pirelli car, and Sean in the STR test car."

"For the first day of testing, work focussed mainly on the chassis side," said Honda's Toyoharu Tanabe. "However, we were also able to try various new items on the PU. The morning went very smoothly, but the rain in the final 90 minutes of the afternoon meant we stopped running early. However, we were able to gather a substantial amount of data, which we will now analyse overnight with the aim of having another fruitful day tomorrow."

Lando Norris got behind the wheel of the MCL33 for the first time since the post-Spanish Grand Prix test, the youngster completing 107 laps on his way to posting the fourth fastest time of the day.

The day ran smoothly despite a couple of interruptions, which included a red flag mid-afternoon, and then a surprisingly heavy downpour 90 minutes before the end of the day's running, prompting the use of Intermediate tyres for the final few runs to evaluate the conditions.

The rest of the day was dedicated primarily to aero correlation and development over shorter runs in the morning, after which the team moved to longer runs in the afternoon before the rain came.

"It was really enjoyable to get back in the car today," said Norris, "especially as it's one year since I first made my debut.

"The first three-quarters of the day were obviously really good. I did a lot of testing; quite a few aero runs but at the same time a good amount of proper runs, so I had a good feeling for the car - until it rained! That put us back a bit, so there are some things we'll need to carry on testing tomorrow.

"It's the first time I've driven a Formula 1 car in the rain, so it was good to feel the difference from F2 to F1 in the wet. It was still tricky, but I thought it would be a lot trickier because of how much more horsepower you have in F1. At the same time, you have a lot more grip than in Formula 2, so it's just on another level, in a similar way to how it is in the dry. Cornering speeds and braking performance are much better than you'd expect in the rain, so I had more confidence than I thought I was going to have. I was a bit nervous before I went out because it got properly wet very quickly!

"I had a good feeling even in the wet, but then it dried out very quickly. I've experienced basically everything today weather-wise, and did 107 laps, so that's really positive."

"We did a lot of laps with the added bonus of some wet running for Lando," added Gil de Ferran, "so he's been able to learn about the car for the first time in these conditions.

"Lando acclimatised himself very quickly and we went through an extensive programme of test items, which has provided us with a lot of useful information. We hope for more of the same on day two, so we shall see what tomorrow brings."

At Mercedes, where a gearbox issue interrupted the run plan in the morning, the programme focused on aero rake data collection. The team also logged data on the vibration of engine and chassis components.

"It's been fantastic to get back behind the wheel of the car," said Russell. "The speed, power and downforce are just completely on another level, so as soon as I jumped in this morning I had a massive smile on my face.

"Unfortunately, we didn't quite do as many laps as anticipated owing to some rain this afternoon and a couple of small issues this morning. Nevertheless, it's been a really good day for me and I think the team learned some things, which is important. Now I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

"It wasn't the best of days for us as we only completed 49 laps," admitted Andrew Shovlin. "We had an issue with the gearbox early on that cost us some time. We were able to tick off some of the data collection test items in the remainder of the morning and early afternoon but, just as we started to get into some proper running, it began to rain.

"It's been good to see George back in the car today and he's done a good job but we had hoped to keep him a bit busier. We've got a lot to do tomorrow, and it looks like we may get some more rain, so we will review our programme tonight to make sure we can make the most of these conditions."

Check out our Tuesday test gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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