F1 Hungary Test: Charles Leclerc fastest on 2017 Ferrari debut
McLaren's Vandoorne edged out; Bottas runs 2018 Pirelli tyres; Vettel to drive Ferrari on Day Two; Robert Kubica appears in paddock ahead of comeback drive on Day Two
By Pete Gill and James Galloway in Budapest
Last Updated: 10/08/17 4:54pm
F2 sensation Charles Leclerc set the pace on the first day of in-season testing at the Hungaroring as the youngster debuted in the 2017 Ferrari.
Leclerc set the quickest time of the day just before the chequered flag fell, producing a lap of 1:17.746 to out-pace McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne by less than a tenth of a second.
But while Vandoorne's personal best was set on the faster ultrasoft tyres - a compound not available at last week's grand prix at the Hungaroring - Leclerc's eye-catching benchmark was produced on the soft tyres, a compound two 'steps' higher.
Leclerc's time was just 1.5 seconds slower than the 1:16.276 set by Sebastian Vettel to claim pole position last Saturday on supersofts.
It would have also been good enough to claim ninth on the grid for the 19-year-old.
The youngster is leading F2 and is widely expected to drive for Sauber after the Swiss outfit beefed-up their engine deal with Ferrari for next season having terminated their previous plan to join forces with Honda.
"I love the car," said Leclerc. "I feel ready, it's quite a big step but I don't think there are any more steps l need to do before coming to Formula 1."
In an unexpected development, Vettel will test the Ferrari on Wednesday morning before handing over the car to team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Vandoorne's day was not without a hiccup for the stabilising McLaren-Honda outfit as the Belgian's car broke down on track just before the lunch break.
Two Mercedes cars were on track during Day One with Britain's GP3 championship leader George Russell at the wheel of one W08 and Valtteri Bottas conducting 2018 tyre testing for Pirelli in the other.
Russell completed over one hundred laps and finished the day in fourth, just behind Bottas.
Driving in temperatures of up to 35 degrees, the 19-year-old told Sky F1: "The heat today has been tough. It was pretty tough towards the end. My body was taking a bit of a bruising as I'm quite tall with quite wide hips. It was a bit difficult to fit in the car but it was a great job today. The team found it productive. Some things were not so great, some things were quite positive, so from that sense it's been a good day.
"The guys in Brackley have got a really great simulator model and I really felt that today. Obviously in the sim you cannot feel the G-Forces and the braking forces throughout the circuit, so that's the biggest different. Also in the simulator you don't have the scare factor - you go into a high-speed corner and if you spin off you just reset and go again. But whereas in this you have a few million pounds worth of damage!"
Max Verstappen was one of only four full-time drivers on duty but the Dutchman's Red Bull was hit by engine trouble and restricted to just 51 laps.
The Dutchman, who now heads off on his summer break, declined to discuss the fallout from last Sunday's first-lap clash with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo but said he would head into the remainder of the season in a "very positive" frame of mind.
"You always try to do your best and the car is constantly improving so hopefully in Spa, after a good break, we can start again and see where we are," said Verstappen.
While the action continued on track, Robert Kubica captured plenty of attention when he made his first appearance in an F1 paddock since suffering career-changing injuries six years ago.
After two previous runs at the wheel of a 2012 Renault, the Pole will drive the team's 2017 car on Wednesday as he continues his quest to make an extraordinary full-time return to the sport.
Hungary In-season testing, Day One timesheet
|1) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||Softs||1:17.746|
|2) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||Ultrasofts||1:17.834|
|3) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||2018 Pirellis||1:18.732|
|4) George Russell||Mercedes||Supersofts||1:19.231|
|5) Lance Stroll||Williams||Supersofts||1:19.866|
|6) Nikita Mazepin||Force India||Unknown||1:19.910|
|7) Nicholas Latifi||Renault||Unknown||1:20.302|
|8) Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso||Unknown||1:20.341|
|9) Lucas Auer||Force India||Unknown||1:20.563|
|10) Santino Ferrucci||Haas||Unknown||1:21.185|
|11) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||Unknown||1:21.228|
|12) Gustav Malja||Sauber||Unknown||1:21.503|