This race is a conundrum: does it signal the final weekend before the summer break, or is it the start of a second half of the year in which Scuderia Toro Rosso will be working hard to improve the performance of the STR7?
Truth is, it’s both those things, although the general feeling leans more towards the former than the latter. If you include winter testing, the teams have been at race tracks pretty much non-stop for the past six months, so a break will be very welcome. However, the work is still going on flat out and the proof of that is that we have some new parts to test here, in the shape of a new rear wing and a modified diffuser.
The Hungaroring is the second slowest track on the calendar after Monaco and that means maximum downforce is the order of the day. Today’s test on the new parts went smoothly, but it’s too early to say how much of an improvement it will bring. However, don’t expect to see Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne leap up the time sheet in tomorrow’s qualifying, because there are no miracle fixes in this sport.
Unbelievably, rain arrived to mess up the work schedule this afternoon, making it the third Grand Prix in a row where Friday practice has been run all or partly on a wet track, in what is meant to be a European summer. That made life difficult when it came to assessing dry tyre performance, but at least the same goes for everyone, therefore it does not put us at any particular disadvantage. Daniel and Jev completed 105 laps between them, 53 for the Australian and one less for the Frenchman. In both sessions they occupied the 16th and 17th places on the time sheet, Daniel ahead of Jev in the morning and vice versa in the afternoon.
Currently, McLaren seem on strong form, with Lewis Hamilton topping both time sheets today and come the end of the three hours of free practice, he was followed by Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus and Bruno Senna in the Williams.
Both our drivers have gone well at this circuit in the junior formulae which is never a bad thing, although one of Daniel’s most amusing memories of his time in Hungary came two years ago at the Grand Prix when he attended an autograph session and was asked to sign his name on a baby! That’s when you know you’re a Formula 1 driver!