Formula 1

Russell ends Hungary in-season test fastest for Mercedes

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George Russell - Formula 1 - 2018 Hungarian Testing
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

George Russell topped the timesheets for Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport on the second and final day of official in-season testing at the Hungaroring.

Russell’s time of a 1 minute 15.575 seconds, an unofficial track record in Budapest, was seven-hundredths of a second quicker than Scuderia Ferrari‘s Kimi Räikkönen, with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s development driver Jake Dennis the next best runner, nearly 1.5 seconds off the pace.

FIA Formula 2 championship leader Russell clocked up 103 laps across the day with little worries, a stark contrast to the gearbox problems he encountered yesterday.

Räikkönen, who now lies just one podium away from 100 in Formula 1, led the way in the morning, before swapping between first and second with Russell as the afternoon progressed. The Brit took control of top spot on the hyper-soft tyres, beating Antonio Giovinazzi‘s previous record by a tenth, set yesterday. The Ferrari number two had one late attempt on the pink-walled compound, but could not quite eclipse Russell’s effort.

Giovinazzi, trading the colours of Ferrari for those of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, managed an impressive fourth – five-tenths shy of Dennis. On the hyper-softs, the Italian was half-a-second quicker than senior driver Marcus Ericsson‘s time on the opening day.

Nikita Mazepin took fifth for the Sahara Force India F1 Team, still searching for a resolution regarding their financial struggles, with a late offer of a 1:17.748. However, the team’s issues were compounded either side of lunch – as the Russian ground to a halt shy of midday.

He reemerged in the afternoon, only to suffer another technical problem, short of the pitlane, with smoke wafting from the back of the VJM11.

Robert Kubica spent time trialling the new-for-2019 style front wings for Williams Martini Racing, unable to improve on the second place he took before lunch. The Pole dropped steadily to sixth, nearly three-seconds adrift of Russell and Räikkönen. Encouragingly, Kubica’s time on ultra-softs was two-tenths faster than Sergey Sirotkin‘s Free Practice 3 best last Saturday.

Russell’s fellow F2 drivers, Lando Norris and Artem Markelov, trailed in seventh and eighth respectively. Norris and the McLaren F1 Team did not embark on any full performance runs, choosing to use the soft tyres for his fastest time – set late in the day.

Meanwhile, Markelov had a quiet day with the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, improving late on whilst running the hyper-softs.

The three Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda drivers propped up the order. Sean Gelael ran Toro Rosso’s intended programme, nearly 3.5 seconds off of the top, whilst regular pairing Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley conducted running for Pirelli Motorsport.

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DTM, Formula 1 writer and deputy editor for The Checkered Flag. Autosport Academy member and freelance voice over artist.
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