Fan favourite, Daniel Ricciardo triumphed on the first day of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, coming out fastest in both practice sessions, comprehensively beating his team-mate, Max Verstappen.
Red Bull Racing came into the weekend with an upgrade on both cars that they thought would help them to try and close the gap to the two front-running teams: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari. However, it appears that rather than playing catch up, the team had more pace than the others.
Ricciardo has had a good season thus far, finishing on the podium several times and taking a win in Baku – but in general has benefited from Verstappen’s bad luck. Nevertheless, today was perhaps the most complete example of Ricciardo affirming himself as a match for the young Dutchman in terms of pace.
“I can’t complain with that day after topping both sessions, it’s nice. We obviously brought some updates here and they seem to be working, I definitely feel like we have found some grip in various areas and taken a step in the right direction.”
The Hungaroring has been referred to as ‘Monaco without the walls’ given its twisty nature and lack of long straights – making it perfect for the teams such as Red Bull who tend to lack straight line speed but have a strong chassis. Ricciardo knew this going into the practices today.
“We know this track usually suits us so it was important to come here and extract everything we could out of the car and make sure the updates did their job which in turn can allow us to fight with the guys up front. Being top of the timesheets is always nice but we were able to replicate that pace in the long runs which gives me confidence looking ahead to the rest of the weekend and achieving a solid result in Qualifying tomorrow.”
“Ferrari seemed to find a bit more pace in the afternoon but I still managed to stay ahead so all signs are good. I’m sure the other teams will bring a bit more tomorrow, but I also think we have a bit more to find. If we can put it all together it could be a really positive Qualifying. I have a car I am comfortable with and I’m at a track I enjoy so it will be an exciting weekend, drive fast and put it all together in Q3, that’s the plan.”