Hungaroring, FP: Leclerc leads the way in free practice
Championship leader tops practice in Budapest
Charles Leclerc has continued in Budapest where he left off in Silverstone by topping this morning’s FIA Formula 2 Championship free practice session at the Hungaroring, setting the pace early on before concentrating on race simulations to take the top spot ahead of Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries.
The Monegasque driver stopped the clocks at 1:27.516 about a third of the way into the hot and sunny session, overturning his own previous best laps to annex the top of the timesheets for the remainder of the session, with his rivals able to get within a tenth but no closer as they fine-tuned their set ups for this afternoon and beyond.
Louis Deletraz set the first quickest lap but was soon deposed by the Ferrari Academy driver, who then went faster each time round for 3 laps as he improved his times at a slightly faster rate than his rivals: they maintained a gap throughout the hot lap fight on their first sets, but just couldn’t knock Leclerc off his perch.
After emerging on fresh rubber all of the grid continued their work until De Vries pushed a little too hard, juddering over the new kerb at turn 11 before finding the wall to prompt a brief VSC period to remove his stricken vehicle: it was the only incident of note in a quiet session ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Behind the top 3 Norman Nato, Nicholas Latifi, Alexander Albon, Sergio Canamasas and Nobuharu Matsushita were well within a second of pole, which covered the top 15 drivers and promises to bring the heat in the battle for pole position.