The air temperature soared to a searing 31˚C today in Budapest as the first of the Free Practice sessions for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix got underway at the Hungaroring.
FP1 was one of the scheduled sessions for Reserve Driver Rodolfo Gonzalez, who ran alongside Jules Bianchi this morning, the pair working through aerodynamic and cooling evaluations. This afternoon, Max returned to his race car for his first taste of the Hungaroring since his dominant win here in GP2 last year.
Jules Bianchi: "It has been a busy Friday for us but we are not where we want to be yet with the car. It feels like there is quite a lot more to find if we are going to be able to fight for a better position this weekend versus our direct competitors. We are also struggling with the tyre degradation, which is quite severe, so a lot for us to look at and consider with the engineers overnight."
Max Chilton: "It's good to be back on track at the Hungaroring, a place I have great memories of, especially after the win here in GP2 last year. It's been a short day for me, having missed FP1, so I had quite a busy afternoon session to cram everything in. We worked through the usual programme but the car is not quite there yet. I'm happy with my race pace but as I missed the morning session I didn't get to work on my ultimate pace. I also lost a little time on the soft tyre towards the end of the session after a big piece of rubber hit the visor screen on my car and broke it, which meant that I had to come in to have it replaced. We have quite a bit of work to do to try to extract more from the car so that will be something we'll be looking at carefully this evening.
Rodolfo Gonzalez, Reserve Driver: "After a positive Young Driver Test at Silverstone last week, it was good to be back in the car again for FP1 to apply some of what I learned there. Every new circuit presents a different challenge and I feel that I am starting to get a good rhythm now, which in turn will help me to work on consistency and speed."
John Booth, Team Principal: "This morning we opted to have Rodolfo working through some aerodynamic and control systems mapping work early on in the session before moving on to evaluate some of the cooling options which are very likely to come into play this weekend. Although we didn't quite see the temperatures that were predicted this afternoon, this work will be essential come Sunday, when we are set to see increased temperatures. Jules set about developing the set-up to suit the new Pirelli tyre construction. We had some ideas to pursue from the data we gathered at the Silverstone test, however due to the restrictions in place there this has been the first opportunity for us the rebalance the car. Both race drivers were in the car this afternoon and tyres again became our focus to ensure we got the high fuel long runs completed to give us the best information ahead of Sunday. We are a little disappointed by our short run pace at present but on the flip side neither driver is 100% happy with the balance of the car, so that gives us something to work on overnight."
Check out our Friday gallery, here.