Hungarian GP: Sebastian Vettel keeps cool as Mercedes overheat
Ferrari set pace in Friday practice ahead of Red Bull; Mercedes struggle and Lewis Hamilton admits: "We have some work"
By Pete Gill and Matt Morlidge at the Hungaroring
Last Updated: 28/07/18 8:34am
Sebastian Vettel was delighted with Ferrari's first day of practice at the Hungarian GP, but Red Bull believe they are still firmly in the victory hunt.
Daniel Ricciardo topped Practice One before Vettel, fresh from his nightmare crash in Hockenheim, dazzled later in the day on the ultrasoft tyres, posting an impressive 1:16.834.
"I think the car is pretty good for one lap," said Vettel, who topped just his second Friday practice session of the season. "We can still improve but it's been one of the better Fridays."
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Championship leaders Mercedes, meanwhile, are on the back foot after a disappointing Friday, well off the pace in both sessions after burning up their tyres.
"As we expected, the Ferraris and Red Bulls were quick and had a little bit more pace than us," said Lewis Hamilton.
"We have some work to do tonight. The tyres are overheating, looking after the rear tyres is the biggest issue."
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas admitted: "The car was difficult to drive."
Hamilton was only fifth fastest in Friday afternoon's practice session, over half a second behind Vettel.
Long runs in Hungary put Ferrari in very good shape, Merc struggling. Red Bull quick in long runs but need to out-qualify Mercs - which may be a stretch. You'd expect Merc not to bother with ultras in Q2.— Mark Hughes (@SportmphMark) July 27, 2018
The German added: "Qualifying and the start are very important here because overtaking is very difficult. If you are ahead after the first couple of corners it will be crucial."
Vettel was speaking to media after Ferrari canceled all engagements on Thursday following former president Sergio Marchionne's death, and was asked about his home German GP, where he shunted into the wall from the lead.
"It's probably good to have a race straightaway to get your head [clear]," Vettel, now 17 points behind Hamilton in the title race, added.
"Hopefully we can cancel it out and make this race count and then there's no big problem."
Ferrari's main rivals, judging by Friday's running, appear to be Red Bull. After Ricciardo impressed in the morning, Max Verstappen was within a tenth of Vettel in P2.
"Our car is really good," said the Dutchman. "I was happy with the second sector where the most corners are and the least amount of straights. We can still improve but the beginning of the weekend is perfect."
Ricciardo, was similarly optimistic, claiming: "On one lap I think we can make some improvements but we're there, we're where we're need to be, so I'm happy.
"I think Ferrari are the biggest threat but I'm sure Mercedes will improve."
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Red Bull are targeting a fourth victory of the season but, though handicapped by an engine disadvantage in qualifying, believe they have to get onto at least the second row to challenge.
"We could do some damage from there," team boss Christian Horner told Sky F1. "We're going to go for it, we can afford to attack."
Sky F1's Hungarian GP schedule
Saturday, July 28
10.45am: Hungarian GP Practice Three build-up
11am: Hungarian GP Practice Three LIVE!
1pm: Hungarian GP Qualifying build-up
2pm: Hungarian GP Qualifying LIVE!
3.30pm: The F1 Show LIVE!
3.40pm: F2 Race One LIVE! (On Red Button from 3.40pm and then main channel after F1 Show)
Sunday, July 29
10.15am: F2 Race Two LIVE!
12.30pm: Hungarian GP Pit Lane LIVE!
1.30pm: Hungarian GP On The Grid LIVE!
2.10pm: THE HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX LIVE!
4.30pm: Hungarian GP Paddock LIVE!
6.30pm: Hungarian GP race replay
Who will sign off for the summer break in style? Watch the Hungarian GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.