Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc said that their Friday at the Hungarian Grand Prix was more of a learning day, as opposed to looking for pure pace.
Ferrari has brought aerodynamic upgrades to the Hungaroring, most notably in the bargeboard area, as Formula 1 prepares for its final race before the summer break.
Vettel was the best-placed Ferrari with third in Free Practice 1, 0.166 seconds off of Lewis Hamilton‘s fastest lap for Mercedes AMG Motorsport, while Leclerc lagged in ninth – nearly one second adrift.
Free Practice 2 was conducted in changing conditions, with little meaningful dry running completed, and neither Ferrari recorded a representative lap time.
Vettel knows that Ferrari has more pace to offer on Saturday, explaining that he tried to improve his comfort and confidence with the car instead of searching for lap times.
“The morning session wasn’t bad,” said Vettel.
“I’m sure we can improve quite a bit because I don’t think we got all the potential out of the car on my quickest lap.
“In fact, more than going for a lap time, I was trying to get a good feeling from the car, which is why I think we can make progress.
“Having said that, we must wait until tomorrow to see where everyone stands and we know there is still work to do.
“There’s not much to say about the afternoon, even if, in sessions like the second one there is always something to learn,” he continued.
“For example we were able to do a few more laps on the intermediate tyres, after those we did in Hockenheim and that was useful for me.”
The four-time world champion also reported that the aerodynamic changes worked “as expected”.
Leclerc described his Friday as a “difficult day” as he struggled to work with the car on a technical track that rewards good rhythm.
The Monégasque believes that he preferred the intermediate running done in the afternoon.
The forecast suggests that the rain will continue overnight, but ease up in time for Saturday’s qualifying session – potentially leading to a greasy track surface.
“We faced mixed weather conditions, the first session being relatively dry and the second rainy,” Leclerc reflected.
“Overall, from my side, we struggled with the car balance and are now working on finding a way to improve this for tomorrow.
“I think that I was in a better shape in the wet, so it will be interesting to see what the conditions will be like in qualifying.
“On the upside, we tested some new parts today which worked as expected. Hopefully, we can make a good step forward.”