Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc tops opening Hungary test
Hungary test

Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc tops opening Hungary test

01/08/2017

Ferrari academy driver Charles Leclerc picked up where Sebastian Vettel left off at the Hungarian Grand Prix by topping the order on the opening day of F1's second in-season test.

Formula 2 leader Leclerc, already being linked with a seat at 2018 Ferrari customer Sauber, completed 98 laps, the penultimate of which was a 1:17.746 set in the dying minutes of the session. The benchmark was still 1.5s shy of Vettel's pole time just three days earlier, but headline times are largely irrelevant during testing due to unknown fuel loads, engine modes and a host of new parts on every car.

Much of the attention of Tuesday's test was reserved for what was happening in the paddock and pit lane, with Robert Kubica having his Renault seat-fitting and being pictured in race overalls ahead of his highly-anticipated test on Wednesday. The Polish driver will get his first experience of a 2017 car after two tests in modified Renaults as his remarkable journey towards a possible comeback continues.

Valtteri Bottas completed 155 laps of a Pirelli tyre test, conducted in his Mercedes W08. The test is Pirelli's first of the week before heading to Barcelona with Ferrari, where it hopes to validate its plans for the final construction of the 2018 tyres (which must be signed off by September 1). GP3 driver George Russell finished fourth in the other Mercedes, with his quickest lap -- set on the super-soft tyres -- 1.4s off Leclerc's benchmark. With race drivers Bottas and Lewis Hamilton testing both days of the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test earlier this year, Mercedes junior Russell will be in the car again on Wednesday, having already completed 119 laps.

Williams' Lance Stroll, deputising for the unwell Felipe Massa, was fifth after 138 laps. Massa was replaced by Williams reserve Paul di Resta for Sunday's race, the first in F1 sine 1982 not to feature a Brazilian on the starting grid. Force India's Nikita Mazepin finished sixth but only drove the car in the morning, handing over to DTMs Lucas Auer in the afternoon. Aeur completed 54 laps, putting Force India over the century mark for the day. The pair will also alternate duties on Wednesday. Seventh-place Nicholas Latifi completed 54 laps for Renault in seventh.

Sean Gelael was eighth for Toro Rosso, who will have race drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat splitting duties on Wednesday. American driver Santino Ferrucci's first day in the Haas VF17 saw him finish 10th but complete 102 laps. Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished down in 11th on a limited day for the team. Swedish youngster Gustav Mallya rounded out the order for Sauber, reaching triple figures in the lap counter in the closing minutes of the session.

Times at close:

1. Charles Leclerc - Ferrari - 1:17.746 - 98 laps
2. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren - 1:17.834 - 72 laps
3. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:18.732 - 155 laps (Tyre test)
4. George Russell - Mercedes - 1:19.231 - 119 laps
5. Lance Stroll - Williams - 1:19.866 - 137 laps
6. Nikita Mazepin - Force India - 1:19.910 - 52 laps
7. Nicholas Lafiti - Renault - 1:20.302 - 53 laps
8. Sean Gelael - Toro Rosso - 1:20.341 - 101 laps
9. Lucas Auer - Force India - 1:20.563 - 52 laps
10. Santino Ferrucci - Haas - 1:21.185 - 100 laps
11. Max Verstappen - Red Bull - 1:21.228 - 57 laps
12. Gustav Malja - Sauber - 1:21.503 - 108 laps

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