Vettel sets pace in rain-soaked Hungarian GP practice session - GulfToday

Vettel sets pace in rain-soaked Hungarian GP practice session


Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the second practice session for the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on Friday. Agence France-Presse

Sebastian Vettel provided a reminder of the talents that won him four drivers’ world titles on Friday when he topped the times for Ferrari in a wet second practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The German driver, who is looking for a new team for 2021 after being told he will be surplus to Ferrari’s needs, clocked a best lap in one minute and 40.464 seconds to outpace nearest rival and championship leader Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes by 0.272s.

For Vettel and Ferrari, it was a welcome boost after last Sunday’s ignominious exit from the Styrian Grand Prix where Charles Leclerc collided with him on the opening lap, causing both men into early retirement.

Carlos Sainz, the man chosen to replace Vettel at Ferrari, was third fastest for McLaren ahead of Lance Stroll and his Racing Point ‘pink Mercedes’ team-mate Sergio Perez.

Pierre Gasly, who sat out the morning opening session topped by Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Bottas, was sixth ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull, Romain Grosjean of Haas, Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo and Leclerc.

Defending six-time champion Hamilton was one of several drivers who decided to sit out the session without clocking a flying lap in the difficult conditions, the Briton choosing only to do a single installation lap.

More wet weather conditions are forecast for Budapest and the surrounding region on Saturday, making it likely that another wet qualifying session will take place. Last weekend’s qualifying at the Styrian Grand Prix was a thrilling spectacle in which Hamilton produced one of his greatest laps to take pole.

F1 reports two positive coronavirus tests: Meanwhile, Formula One reported on Friday that two people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest batch of nearly 5,000 tests but said neither attended the first two races in Austria.

A statement said 4,997 tests had been carried out on drivers, teams and personnel from July 10-16.

“Of these, two people have tested positive. The individuals were not present in Austria, with the affected people removed from operations and isolated. Tracing of close contacts completed and isolated,” it said.

The positives were the first linked to the sport since the scheduled Australian season-opener in March was cancelled after a McLaren employee was found to have the new coronavirus.

The delayed season finally started with two races on back-to-back weekends and without spectators at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on July 5 and 12.

Formula One is testing everyone involved every five days, with the paddock off-limits to most media while teams are operating in protective bubbles.

The sport performed 8,598 tests between June 26 and July 9, all coming back negative.


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