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Daniel Ricciardo result at Hungarian F1 Grand Prix practice: McLaren springs big surprise

Charles Leclerc completed the “double top” for Ferrari at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix when he overtook McLaren’s Lando Norris in second practice.

The 24-year-old Monegasque showed his recovery from the injury that ruled him out of last weekend’s French Grand Prix, setting a best lap of 1 minute 18.445 seconds, 2/10 clear of Norris.

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Carlos Sainz, who was fastest in the opening session for Ferrari, was ahead of series leader and world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo, who surprised everyone by setting the fifth fastest time in the second McLaren. .

Ricciardo has struggled mightily for pace this season and endured a number of struggles with his car – a characteristic feature of his two seasons at McLaren so far. That’s why it was such a shock to see him drop out of the top five in Hungary – especially after finishing ninth in his last French GP start.

The OCC was impressed by his and Norris’ strong performances, but he didn’t get ahead of himself in what an impressive practice session meant to qualifying.

“I don’t know about the others, but I think we were really competitive this morning,” Ricciardo said.

“Hopefully being competitive in both sessions says something, hopefully it says we’re competitive.

“Sorry to the fans, I don’t think we’ll be competing for the baton. I’m not pessimistic, just realistic.

But if anything, I think they’ll probably get a little bit more in the rough on Saturday.

“I think it was a good day, we definitely hit the ground running. We’ll check what’s going on with the car tonight and we’ll definitely make a few cuts.

“Also, I have no reason to say we can’t fight for the title tomorrow, but it’s only been a week since Le Castel, you can only change so much.

“Maybe the track suits us better, but I’m sure we’ve taken a step, but maybe not that big of a step.”

Daniel Ricciardo is not getting ahead of himself in Hungary. (Photo by Francois Nell/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso was sixth for the Alpine on his 41st birthday, ahead of retired four-time champion Sebastian Vettel from Aston Martin, his friend and long-time rival.

George Russell was a disappointing eighth for Mercedes, after struggling for balance, continuing his frustration with Sergio Perez in the Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas, 10th in Alfa Romeo.

Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton also had a difficult day, finishing 11th in his second Mercedes, complaining of continued instability in his car.

Last year’s surprise winner Esteban Ocon was 13th in the second Alpine, but very different conditions could be expected on Saturday and Sunday.

He took advantage of the conditions last year to take his first win and was hoping for a repeat when he arrived in Budapest.

“A million emotions came flooding back as soon as I arrived in Budapest,” he said.

“A year ago we achieved something amazing and my dream came true. But I want more. We need more. Last push before summer break.

It was Leclerc who took the first initiative at Hangaroring, where heavy rain was forecast for a hot and dry afternoon and could provide a stormy qualifying session on Saturday.

Sainz soon made it a Ferrari one-two ahead of Norris, on the Softs, running wide but over the grass and dust in the final corner, confirming the view that McLaren could find the circuit to their liking.

Leclerc took first place, but Verstappen and Red Bull seemed to be struggling to match Ferrari’s pace and the champion was in fourth place with teammate Perez with 23 minutes remaining.

“Today was a bit difficult as expected,” said Verstappen.

We’ve been trying to find the right balance from high to low speed, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t – there’s a bit of work to do.

There were promising signs for Ferrari. (Photo by Attila Kisbenedek / AFP)Source: AFP

The 24-year-old Dutchman has won eight of 12 races this season and leads Leclerc by 63 points in the title race, but is clear of his main rival.

“I think the Ferraris will be ahead of us this weekend and it will be hard to beat them,” he said.

“We’re going to work hard overnight and try to close that gap as much as we can.

“The weather seems to have an effect. In the dry, we might struggle to compete, but in the rain it could be a different story – but, who knows? We’ll see tomorrow.”

Mercedes were struggling and with seven minutes to go, Hamilton grabbed a big driver at turn four and took to the podium.

“The car is unstable,” he reported on the team radio.

In an incredibly eventful day, Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to struggle for performance as temperatures soared to 35 degrees.

Aston Martin has introduced a new “armchair” rear wing, with both Vettel and Lance Stroll taking center stage, seemingly taking their time to understand its potential.

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