On a very hot day at the Hungaroring, both Racing Engineering drivers concentrated on their setups versus setting fast times in GP2 qualifying.
It was very hot at the Hungaroring with an air temperature of 31° and a track temperature of 45° as the cars took to the track for the 30 minute free practice session with both of the Racing Engineering drivers concentrating on setting up their cars rather than trying to set any quick laps. The session was interrupted by several yellow flags which affected both Fabio Leimer and Julián Leal but, despite this, and the end of the 30 minutes Fabio was 7th fastest with a time of 1:30.241s and Julián was 14th on 1:30.558s.
Both Racing Engineering drivers pitted for some final adjustments and new tyres as the session reached the halfway point and with just over eight minutes remaining both men returned to the track. With just four minutes to go Fabio was setting some very quick lap times and he crossed the finish line with a time of 1:28.507s for second fastest. As the session came to an end, only one other driver was able to improve on Fabio’s time leaving him 3rd on the grid. Despite trying very hard Julián was unable to improve on the time of 1:29.524s he had set earlier which left him 19th on the grid.
Tomorrow’s 37 lap Feature Race will see Fabio starting from the second row of the grid and he must be considered one of the favourites to win and increase his points score, for Julián it will be a case of trying to gain as many positions as possible to give himself a good grid position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "A good result from Fabio qualifying in P3. As usually happens here the track improved throughout the day with more and more cars running. Fabio adapted well to the change of conditions and got the maximum out of the soft compound tyres. But Julian, unfortunately, wasn’t able to perform at his best in today's qualifying. The first 17 drivers are within one second, which shows that every little mistake has a very big effect on tomorrow's starting position. We know that Julian can do better and we are sure that he will prove this during the races. We expect very high temperatures for the next two days, so the races will be quite tough. As always, the tyres will be a major challenge and will need looking after carefully to score important points."
Fabio Leimer: "I think we can be satisfied with today's third position. I wasn't too happy with my first set of tyres when I was only in P8. We knew that we need to set a good lap on the second set and I am happy that I was actually able to do so without traffic and without any big mistakes. I was happy when I heard I was in P2 and the plan was to make another fast lap. But when I was on the next push lap, I made an early mistake in turn 2 and it's therefore quite good that I finished the session in P3. For tomorrow it is good I am starting from the second row and with a good start it's possible to take the lead. This is my goal even though we all know it will be a long and tough race tomorrow."
Julián Leal: "For me today's qualifying didn't go as well as for my team mate. I didn't feel comfortable in the second sector, but the car was OK in sector 1 and 3. I made some small mistakes all over the track and they added up, so I couldn't set a better lap time. It wasn't an easy qualifying and with the second set of tyres I encountered a lot of traffic, which hampered me on all of my fast laps which was a problem too today. In the end, I need to continue to improve. Today was not my day and I will give my best in the races."