Sebastian Vettel leads the way in Hungarian Grand Prix practice

Sebastian Vettel led second practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix as Mercedes again struggled for speed, while Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley clocked 13th and 15th fastest times respectively across both sessions.

On a day of mourning for Ferrari, following the death this week of former president Sergio Marchionne, Vettel was faster than Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

The same three drivers had also led first practice hours earlier, with Ricciardo quickest ahead of Vettel and Verstappen.

Vettel's Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was fourth in both sessions, while Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes colleague Valtteri Bottas twice placed fifth and sixth.

The narrow Hungaroring track is among the most difficult overtaking circuits in Formula One, and considered more favorable to cars with a strong downforce like Red Bull and Ferrari - which clinched a 1-2 last year when Vettel won ahead of Raikkonen.

"I think we can still improve the setup of the car a little bit more and be quicker ... If that will be enough for pole position I'm not sure," said Verstappen, who has won one race this season.

"(The track) is very tight and twisty. Qualifying will be important as it's hard to overtake here, so getting ahead early is vital."

It appears Mercedes has much work to do to get its car competitive for qualifying tonight.

Hamilton, who won last weekend's German GP from 14th on the grid, briefly lost control of his car in P1 and complained about his tires.

"This is a tricky circuit and the tires are overheating; looking after the rear tires is the biggest issue," Hamilton said. "The (warm) temperature and the layout of the track - corner after corner - made it really tricky for the tires, as there's no time for them to cool down."

The British driver leads Vettel by 17 points after 11 of 21 races, with the four-time F1 champions winning four races apiece and retiring once each.

Vettel threw points away by crashing in the rain near the end last weekend. The German driver started from pole and was leading by nearly 10 seconds at the time of the incident.

Following Hungary, there is a four-week summer break.

Amid a somber mood, Ferrari's garage and motorhome flew its flag at half-mast and team members wore black armbands in memory of Marchionne, who died on Wednesday at the age of 66.

Vettel and Raikkonen also had black bands attached to their cars.


Topics



Watch: Helmet cam captures rally driver’s horrifying escape from blazing car after high-speed crash

A rally driver has somehow managed to walk away unscathed from a terrifying high-speed crash that saw his car catch on fire while he was still inside.

Ken Block was racing in a 1991 Ford Escort in the New England Forest Rally in the US State of Maine on Sunday when he clipped a rock and flipped his car.

The car rolled twice before landing on its wheels.

Block was looking to continue racing after the incident until he noticed the car was on fire, prompting him and navigator Alex Gelsomino to make a quick escape.

The 50-year-old managed to capture the entire experience on his helmet camera, sharing the vision on social media after the two-day event.

"WILD day for Alex Gelsomino and I," Block posted on Instagram.

"We were running in 3rd overall in the New England Forest Rally (with a gear box problem), pressing on to finish Stage 4 when I turned into a tighter left corner and downshifted.

"The box didn’t shift when I wanted it to (because mechanical issue), and when it finally did, it threw me into the inside of a corner and into a big rock.

"That rock sent us rolling over twice. We landed on our wheels, and I was ready to get going again because we were shiny side up.

"Buuuut as you can see, a fire started REALLY quick. Alex and I got out safely, but the car thoroughly burned right there on the stage.

"Such a bummer. These photos suck, and it was torturous to watch the car burn (it took a while), but that’s racing."


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Shane van Gisbergen denies Kiwi rival Scott McLaughlin perfect weekend, wins second race in Ipswich

The gloves are officially off in the Supercars title fight after Shane van Gisbergen hit back at series leader Scott McLaughlin in today's Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway.

Holden's Van Gisbergen got the jump on pole-sitter McLaughlin at the start of the Ipswich round's 200km finale and went on claim the chequered flag by more than two seconds ahead of the Ford star.

Ford's Chaz Mostert was third, his first podium since last October's Gold Coast 600.

The stage is now set for a championship dog fight between 2016 series winner van Gisbergen and McLaughlin, who narrowly missed claiming his debut drivers' title last year.

Van Gisbergen's fourth win of the year has whittled McLaughlin's series lead down to just 131 points with seven of the season's 16 rounds remaining.

"That (start) dictates the race here," van Gisbergen said.

"If we start up there (front) we can race with them (McLaughlin's Ford).

"The cars are very even but we are missing something in qualifying consistency - we needed to get that start.

"But I am enjoying the title fight."

It was a shot in the arm for van Gisbergen after McLaughlin appeared unstoppable at Ipswich.

McLaughlin claimed pole before leading Saturday's 39-lap race from start to finish to beat van Gisbergen home by more than four seconds.

And the flying Kiwi looked set to deliver more of the same in today's 65-lap race after again taking out pole position.

It was his 10th pole of the year in 20 races, taking his career haul to 43 and equal third overall on the all-time list with Craig Lowndes.

But van Gisbergen wasn't to be denied on Sunday.

He enjoyed a blistering start for the second straight day, getting the jump on McLaughlin to snatch the lead by the first turn.

It followed Saturday's heroics in the opening 120km event where van Gisbergen remarkably moved from eighth to third on the first lap, eventually finishing second.

Today's race lead changed hands as both drivers used different tyre and fuel strategies.

But van Gisbergen emerged seconds ahead of McLaughlin after his second and final pit stop midway through the 65-lap race and was never headed.

"From here on I will just press on, take it as it comes. There's a lot more points on offer but I am excited about our car pace," McLaughlin said of the title fight.

Holden star Jamie Whincup finished fourth in the 27-strong field with sentimental favourite Craig Lowndes eighth.

Appearing at his 22nd and final Ipswich round, Lowndes, 44, is enjoying a Supercars swan song after announcing two weeks ago that he would retire from full-time racing at season's end.

The next round is the Sydney SuperNight 300 from August 3-4.


Topics