Leclerc quickest for Ferrari at Hungary test


Formula 2 points leader Charles Leclerc marked his first time in the 2017 Ferrari car by topping the timesheets on the first day of the Hungary test.

As the eight-hour session drew to a close, the 19-year-old driver from Monaco posted a 1:17.746 at the Hungaroring, pipping long-time leader Stoffel Vandoorne in the McLaren-Honda by 0.088s, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas 0.986s behind in third.

Leclerc spun out in the very early stages, but went on to rack up nearly a century of laps amid ongoing speculation that the highly-rated teen will join Sauber next season as part of the renewed deal with Ferrari to supply engines to the Swiss team.

Vandoorne once again displayed the strength of the McLaren-Honda at the Hungaroring following their double-points finish last weekend. But, in true McLaren-Honda style, the Belgian’s running was limited somewhat as the MCL32 broke down just before the lunch break.

Bottas, meanwhile, earned a well-deserved summer break after completing a whopping 155 laps as part of a Pirelli programme to test tyres for next season.

The Finn was joined alongside GP3 star George Russell in the Mercedes, who impressed with a 119-lap stint on his F1 test debut for the Silver Arrows. He would finish P4 in the standings and will return on Day Two for more valuable experience inside the W08.

Lance Stroll, covering for the ill Felipe Massa, was fifth quickest, while Nikita Mazepin finished P6 after taking on morning duties at Force India.

Mercedes DTM driver Lucas Auer replaced Mazepin in the afternoon and finished inside the top 10 with a best time of 1:20.563.

Nicholas Latifi, who will hand over the Renault to Robert Kubica on Wednesday, was seventh fastest.

It was a mixed day for Toro Rosso’s Sean Gelael after an on-track stoppage prompted red flags and restricted his time with the car. However, he recovered to finish P8 and 101 laps under his belt.

Young Haas driver Santino Ferrucci was P10 and finished ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sauber’s Gustav Malja.

Day One Timesheet

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:17.746, 98 laps, ultrasoft tyres
2) Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:17.834, 72 laps, ultrasoft tyres
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:18.732, 155 laps, 2018 tyres
4) George Russell, Mercedes, 1:19.231, 119 laps, supersoft tyres
5) Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:19.866, 138 laps, supersoft tyres
6) Nikita Mazepin, Force India, 1:19.910, 52 laps
7) Nicholas Latifi, Renault, 1:20.302, 54 laps
8) Sean Gelael, Toro Rosso, 1:20.341, 101 laps
9) Lucas Auer, Force India, 1:20.563, 54 laps
10) Santino Ferrucci, Haas, 1:21.185, 102 laps
11) Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:21.228, 58 laps
12) Gustav Malja, Sauber, 1:21.503, 108 laps