As the soft tires on his Ferrari hit the Hungaroring circuit during practice on Friday afternoon, Charles Leclerc guided his Ferrari to the top of the timesheets with a fast lap time of 1:18.445.
Leclerc was nearly .3 seconds off the leader’s pace in the opening practice session where his Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz, and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen were the two to beat.
However, the French driver regrouped for the second practice and finished .217 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
“The best way to react to what happened at Le Castellet is to get a win here in Hungary,” Leclerc said. “I am driving the best car I’ve ever had in Formula 1 and I know the only way to stay in the fight for the title is to win races and always finish ahead of Max. Qualifying is very important here.”
While the drivers analyze their practice performances, they’re also keeping an eye on the weather forecast – it’s looking like rain will play a role in the running of the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.
“In the dry we might struggle to compete, but it could be a different story in the rain; who knows, we will see tomorrow,” Verstappen said. “It was a bit tricky around here today, we were trying to find the right balance from high to low speed, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.”
The top four in practice – Leclerc, Norris, Sainz, Verstappen – finished within three seconds of one another, while McLaren’s Daniel Riccardo ended his day a few seconds behind in fifth.
Eight-time Budapest winner Lewis Hamilton, driver for Mercedes, finished 11th.