Hot conditions hamper Ricciardo
By Mat Coch
Saturday 31st July, 2021 - 7:53am
Hot conditions on the opening day at the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix have hampered Daniel Ricciardo’s progress.
The Australian complained of a lack of grip in his McLaren MCL35M, recording a best lap of 1:18.737s on soft compound tyres in Free Practice 2.
That left him just 13th fastest in the session, one spot better than he’d managed in the opening hour of running earlier in the day.
“It was a pretty tricky day,” he admitted.
“The track conditions were really hot, so I think that made it more difficult.
“Even if you’re fastest today it’s probably not going to feel great because the cars and the tyres aren’t optimised for these sorts of conditions.
“It was hard to get a good feel from the car this morning, in terms of balance,” he added.
“It was better this afternoon, even though we’ve still got work to do before tomorrow.”
Team-mate Lando Norris fared better, though he too was someway off the pace of those at the very front.
The Englishman was a second off the outright pace and ninth best in Practice 1, that difference increasing to 1.3s in Practice 2.
“Today wasn’t too bad – obviously very hot which made things a bit tricky,” Norris said.
“It’s not just warm inside the car but the car itself, especially the tyres – the tarmac is hot and that can change a lot of things with the car and how it feels too.
“It doesn’t make things too easy with the temperatures, but we’ll try to make sure we do a better job with that tomorrow and make improvements overnight.
“But I think we’re there or thereabouts, so we’ll see if we can gain a little bit for tomorrow.”
McLaren’s executive director of racing, Andrea Stella, added: “We’ve had a busy and productive day of practice in Hungary.
“Conditions today were extreme: high ambient temperatures and I don’t think we were far from a record track temperature.
“We progressed through our programme well, without issues, and are happy with what we’ve learned today.
“We seem to be in the usual position in terms of competitiveness,” he continued.
“The midfield is very tight, and a few milliseconds will make all the difference, so we have some work to do this evening and tomorrow to prepare for qualifying and ensure we have a good race on Sunday, starting from as high up on the grid as possible.
“We also know the weather is unsettled, so we’ll be preparing for multiple scenarios for the rest of the weekend.”
Weather conditions are forecast to be dramatically different on Saturday, with rain and thunderstorms, with overcast skies and low 30 degree temperatures expected for Sunday.
Practice continues tonight in Hungary with a final 60-minute session, starting at 20:00 AEST, feeding into Qualifying.