It was no wonder Mattia Binotto was worried about the Hungarian stage of F1 – especially after the fiasco of the French GP. It turns out that the extreme Hungaroring has all the characteristics that best suit the F1-75. The Budapest circuit demands reduced power, traction and tire handling. In other words, the three pillars of the success of the Italian project for 2022. Therefore, the leadership of the team in the activities that opened the work for the 13th stage of the season was not surprising: Carlos Sainz emerged in front in FP1, while Charles Leclerc commanded the additional session. And besides, it attracted good performance in all conditions. So, you could say that Ferrari is entering with grace – so much so that Max Verstappen has already decided to rain to try to balance the balance.
In fact, Red Bull’s #1 is correct. Especially in practice 2, Ferrari’s performance was amazing. Qualifying speed remains Maranello’s main weapon, although the Austrian rival and even the invading McLaren have been able to get close on the soft compounds (C4). If the definition of the grid were decided on a dry track, it would not be surprising to see a heated dispute. But this situation changes in the performance of the race. On the tarmac with medium tires (C3) which are supposed to be test tires, the Ferrari seemed invincible. Monegasque came to set the pace almost 0s7 faster than his rivals.
There are other factors that confirm Ferrari’s privileged position. Warm weather makes the red car happy – and a hot Friday in Hungary supports this theory – but the drop in temperature is also not a problem, as seen in the Austrian and even French races last week. One of the strong points of this set is the excellent tire management, almost independent of the thermometer. The new floor, which is already used at Paul Ricard, is also a strong material, as it achieved the goal of generating low power and reducing bounce.
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In this way, Sainz and Leclerc have a great opportunity to go on vacation with high results and, perhaps, still in the F1 2022 race. “The goal was to get the car today,” said the Monegasque. “We did a race simulation as we might not be able to do that in the third practice tomorrow because of the rain forecast.”
Charles’ views were shared by Sainz. “It was an interesting Friday. The car was very good as soon as we left the garage in FP1 and we were able to do some very good laps. In FP2 we tried some set-up changes to assess which direction was best for us. take it for tomorrow and for the race.” , reported the Spaniard.
“We are good with the balance of the car and its speed, it seems that tomorrow there will be a lot of water so we will have to adapt to the environment, today was a good day for the team and I am looking forward to another weekend.” it is finished.
It’s true: heavy rain is forecast for Saturday and that’s already a way of life for many people, but not necessarily for Ferrari. For a car well tuned for a dry track, bad weather is not the best news for the Italians, because it always ends up having an ungrateful touch of fate in everything. And another, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and even Alpine have a chance to fight with pity – the Canadian classification exists and does not allow you to lie.
Therefore, Taureans are very much looking forward to heavy rains and a degree of chaos. Although the powerhouse sent Hungary a modified rear wing and minor changes to the floor, all in the name of downforce, the race pace difference remained too great for Ferrari. Hence the desire for shock. “Ferrari is stronger than us. In Budapest there are only corners and straights. It is not enough to play to our strengths. And only the rain can help us,” said the world champion.
“We will work hard all night to try to close this gap as much as we can. In dry weather, we can try hard to compete, but the story can be different in the rain”, emphasized the pilot, who leads the Drivers’ Championship with 233 points, against 170 and Leclerc.
And while water serves as an element of unpredictability, it’s no guarantee that Red Bull can take full advantage. The rain that fell at the Spielberg circuit, before the Austrian GP, helped to reduce the temperature, and this affected the performance of the RB18, which does not seem to like the cold – this is also a possible situation in Budapest. So, beware of Taureans.
But if rain is a point that weighs on both sides, there are other ingredients that can fuel the conflict. The case is that Ferrari needs an understandable result to continue dreaming and the best would also be to rely on other partners – one of them of course is the chance of falling to the rivals depending on the weather. But there are still others. In Hungary, McLaren could be a key player.
Max Verstappen cheers in the rain in Budapest (Image: Red Bull Content Pool)
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Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo had their best Friday of the season. The English team has developed an impressive package of updates on Paul Ricard, which is now starting to have more impact. Wings and floor helped improve performance, as well as greater aerodynamic load. Norris positioned himself between Leclerc and Sainz and ahead of Verstappen in second place in FP2, while the Australian was fifth, with Fernando Alonso in contention.
“Things seem to be going well. The car is coming along well, it seems to have matched the characteristics of the track a bit more too. But we are also faster in FP2 than in qualifying”, rightly said the Englishman.
“We know everyone, especially Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes usually develop on Saturday. I think we are OK, the car is in good condition at the end of the week. I think better than we were at Paul Ricard. No. I hope. to fight for the pole, but to be in a good position than France”, he added.
Within this document, Mercedes should not be excluded either, despite the difficult Friday that has lived with even Alpine. That is, the Hungarian weekend, despite the expected rain, is starting to promise Ferrari again – it remains to be seen if the team will take advantage of the new opportunity.
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