Hungaroring: Series Friday report

Stefano Coletti takes the heat Comtec Racing's Stefano Coletti set of off on the right foot today when he set the fastest lap in collective testing under a blistering Hungarian sun. The man from Monaco led International Draco Racing's ...

Stefano Coletti takes the heat

Comtec Racing's Stefano Coletti set of off on the right foot today when he set the fastest lap in collective testing under a blistering Hungarian sun. The man from Monaco led International Draco Racing's Nathanael Berthon and Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo, having celebrated their twenty-first birthdays yesterday, July 1, both the Frenchman and the Australian look ready for the weekend ahead before some well deserved R&R.

The heat was on in Budapest today for the last round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series prior to the summer break. From the word go, the drivers were on the track taking full advantage of the cooler morning conditions. By this stage, the air temperature a was a balmy 27o.C and the track 30o.C. ISR's Filip Salaquarda set the pace early on, completing the first flying lap of the day in 1'37"895 ahead of P1 Motorsport's Walter Grubmuller and Stefano Coletti.

As the minutes ticked by, the leaderboard began to take shape when Grubmuller eased in front with a 1'37"040 lap. Nathanael Berthon was the first driver to break the 1'37 barrier, but it wasn't long before he was pushed from the top of the timesheet by Fortec Motorsport's Jon Lancaster with a time of 1'36"615. The situation would begin to stabilize twenty minutes into the session with Lancaster in top spot followed by Berthon and Epsilon Euskadi's Keisuke Kunimoto.

At the end of the last half hour, Tech 1 Racing's Brendon Hartley gave the best provisional performance in 1'36"403, just before the session was interrupted by an accident for FHV Interwetten.com's Sergio Canamasas. At the restart, the drivers stepped up the pace, Grubmuller standing out in particular, but ISR's Esteban Guerrieri laid down the gauntlet. Grubmuller meanwhile improved in the closing seconds. With a time of 1'34''635, the Austrian set the fastest lap of the morning to lead Esteban Guerrieri, KMP Racing's Anton Nebylitskiy, Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin and Jon Lancaster.

Pons Racing's Daniel Zampieri opened the batting in the afternoon immediately bettering Grubmuller's lap from the morning with a time of 1'36''350. The Italian was leading the dance ahead of Aleshin and Ricciardo until the session was interrupted by a crash for Kunimoto. When the green flag came out Guerrieri had slipped in front in 1'36"172.

There was an immediate rejoinder from Comtec Racing's Greg Mansell. His time of 1'34''886 meant the British driver spent the large part of the session at the top of the timesheet while International Draco Racing's Julian Leal climbed up to 2nd with Mikhail Aleshin 3rd. But the day after his 21st birthday Daniel Ricciardo helped himself to the fastest lap ahead of Berthon. It was Stefano Coletti who had the final word, beating the other drivers on the line. The Man from Monaco set the fastest lap of the day in 1'34"377.

Quote, unquote:

Stefano Coletti: "The main worry this weekend will be the heat. Physically it shouldn't be a problem, we're really well prepared. Nevertheless we need to choose a setup which allows us to spare the tires. The winner won't be the fastest, but the one with the most staying power."

Nathanael Berthon: "I wasn't totally happy with the car, or my driving, I'm not sure what happened, because I love this circuit. Anyway, we changed the tires and things started to look up! The weekend is going to be really tight, all the leaders are hear and everyone wants to get a punch in before the summer break."

Daniel Ricciardo: "The weather is OK, but we can still improve our setup. Neither Brendon nor I have been 100% happy with the handling of our cars, but we have a few ideas to make the most of it tomorrow. There were 15 of us within one second of each other, that's going to mean a lot of hard work on every level this weekend."

-source: renault sport

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Walter Grubmuller , Mikhail Aleshin , Stefano Coletti , Greg Mansell , Brendon Hartley , Daniel Ricciardo , Filip Salaquarda , Esteban Guerrieri , Keisuke Kunimoto , Jon Lancaster , Nathanael Berthon , Anton Nebylitskiy , Daniel Zampieri , Julian Leal
Teams Carlin