Kevin Magnussen insists he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite a positive Friday at the Hungaroring, with the Dane an impressive fifth fastest in the morning session.
The Haas F1 Team have seen across the season how up and down their performance levels have been, so being quick on a Friday does not guarantee a quick weekend, particularly with the weather conditions being different, which is the reason why Magnussen is coy about his chances.
Magnussen was happy with how the VF-19 felt on the intermediate Pirelli tyre, and with rain a possibility on Saturday, it was good to get some additional knowledge about that compound should the rain materialise.
“It wasn’t too bad in FP1, it was fast, but we’ll see,” said Magnussen. “There’s a high chance of different conditions tomorrow, either with temperatures or weather.
“We’re keeping our feet on the ground because we’ve seen big changes before, where it’s just been a small change in conditions, in temperature, and it can mean a lot.
“We did get some wet running on in the intermediates, it’s good to feel the car on that tyre, in case it’s wet tomorrow. It looked good, competitive, so overall it’s not been a bad day, but we’ll see tomorrow.”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean struggled to get the balance of his VF-19 to his liking during the opening session, which meant he was unable to get to within a second of Magnussen’s best time, but the Frenchman admits the colder conditions seen on Friday does not suit the old-specification set-up he is using this weekend in Hungary.
“We struggled a little bit in the morning to get the balance of the car right, especially on the C4 soft tyres,” admitted Grosjean. “We know the old spec car doesn’t like the colder temperature, and today it just wasn’t warm enough to get the tyres to work – therefore the balance gets really unpredictable and not so nice to drive.
“We made some progress in the afternoon, though it was still quite cool early in the session, it wasn’t ideal. Eventually the rain the came and we got a bit of a taste of the inters. We tried to find what the balance was like in case there’s rain tomorrow.”
Team Principal Guenther Steiner hopes the weather conditions improve and stabilise across the remainder of the weekend so the team can build on its double points score from the German Grand Prix weekend. He felt the intermediate running was important to them as there has been very few opportunities in 2019 to run with that compound.
“Two sessions dominated by the weather conditions,” said Steiner. “In FP2 we took the opportunity to stay out on the intermediates quite a bit to learn more about them, because we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to test them this year – so that was good to learn.
“For everything else, it’s very difficult to analyse what’s happening. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have more stable weather.”