By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Antonio Giovonazzi’s unofficial lap record at the Hungaroring lasted exactly one day, as Mercedes junior George Russell edged ahead with a stout 1:15.575 on the hypersoft tires as the final in-season test of 2018 came to an end.
Russell just beat out Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari to set the fastest time of the day by less than a tenth of a second. The two traded fast times for much of the afternoon session until Raikkonen failed to match Russell’s pace on the softest compound.
Jake Dennis, who made his second testing appearance for Red Bull was a distant third on the time sheets 1.437 seconds off the pace. He did however complete a day high 131 laps .
Antonio Giovinazzi was back with Sauber after his Ferrari duties yesterday and clocked the fourth fastest time, further cementing the gains Sauber is making with Ferrari’s power unit upgrades pulling them up the grid.
Russian Nikita Mazepin came in fifth on the day for the beleaguered Force India team, but only managed 51 laps around the Hungaroring as problems with his car led to the two red flags of the day.
Robert Kubica was back behind the wheel at Williams today and ran over 100 laps en route to the sixth best time of the day, which for Williams will feel like progress. The Pole set his best time on the ultra softs instead of the hyper softs, but it was still quicker than any lap time the team achieved over last weekend. With rumors of Lance Stroll bound for Force India, if that team can survive, Kubica may be in the catbird seat for 2019.
Lando Norris was back for a second day with McLaren and put in 73 laps for the Woking based team. His best time of 1:18.472 was set on the soft tire on a day McLaren was clearly focused on long runs opposed to pure pace.
Renault gave Artem Markelov his first F1 test today and the Russian delivered by putting in 108 laps despite finishing nearly three seconds off the pace on hypersofts, the day can still be considered successful for a drivers first test.
Toro Rosso, the only team to run two cars at the test brought up the rear today with Sean Gelael, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley all present. The three drivers tallied a massive 305 laps, despite the fact that Gelael crashed early on in the car reserved for Pirelli’s tire development.
Complete Times Day 2
1. George Russell, Mercedes, 1:15.575, 116 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:15.649, 131 laps
3. Jake Dennis, Red Bull, 1:17.012, 131 laps
4. Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, 1:17.558, 120 laps
5. Nikita Mazepin, Force India, 1:17.748, 51 laps
6. Robert Kubica, Williams, 1:18.451, 103 laps
7. Lando Norris, McLaren, 1:18.472, 73 laps
8. Artem Markelov, Renault, 1:18.496, 108 laps
9. Sean Gelael, Toro Rosso, 1:19.046, 122 laps
10. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:19.790, 75 laps
11. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:20.221, 67 laps