After the recent spate of grey skies and wet tracks the GP2 teams were pleased to see blue skies and a dry track in Hungary for this morning’s 30 minute practice session. All the cars took to the track immediately and the two Racing Engineering cars were immediately amongst the fastest with Fabio Leimer in 4th and Nathanaël Berthon in 5th. The times soon began to drop and with 12 minutes gone Leimer set the quickest time so far with Berthon close behind in 9th. With just 4 minutes remaining Leimer set another fast time to finish the session 2nd fastest with a time of 1:29.732s with Berthon just 0.8s slower with a time of 1:30.538, but, such is the competitiveness of the 2012 GP2 season, he was only 16th fastest.
Although it had rained during the F1 practice session as the GP2 cars prepared to start their 30 minute qualifying session the sun was coming out and the track was drying although track temperature was 11° cooler than it had been in the morning.
Only a handful of cars took to the track initially as the other drivers waited for the track to dry some more and it was 5 minutes before Berthon took to the track and a further 3 minutes before Leimer joined in. After 12 minutes Berthon went 4th and within a couple of minutes Leimer took 3rd fastest. The track was getting quicker lap by lap and with 10 minutes most of the drivers pitted to put on new tyres.
As the final minutes counted down Leimer took the 8th fastest time with a lap of 1:29.334 just 0.354s away from pole position and Berthon set a 1:29.496 for 12th fastest. Although both of the Racing Engineering drivers would have preferred to be higher up the grid, they have both shown great race pace in recent races and both will be looking to move up through the field and score as many points as possible in tomorrow’s 37 lap Feature Race.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "It was very busy on track today and difficult to find a gap to set a fast time as is usual at the Hungaroring due to the layout of the circuit. Part of the track was still slightly damp when the session started so we decided to wait a bit. Both of our drivers have used the option tyres on their first and second runs and qualified 0.3 and 0.5 seconds off pole respectively, which today means a slightly disappointing P8 for Fabio and an improving P12 for Nathanaël. Tomorrow's race will be long and challenging, and we hope to see both our boys finishing well in the points."
Fabio Leimer: "I think today's qualifying was quite difficult as the conditions changed during the session, therefore it was difficult to find the limit on the set of tyres. With the second set I had a bit of traffic and needed to pass three cars, but I don’t think this cost me too much time. To fight for a podium finish in tomorrow’s race, we still need to fine tune some things. However, I am confident as we have been strong in all races so far this season, but overtaking is difficult here, which means the strategy is very important as well."
Nathanaël Berthon: "I am happy as for me this was a good qualifying. I felt more confident with the car's performance than in other qualifying sessions this year. I am only half a second off the pole, and think that more could have been possible. But for some reason the behaviour of my car changed a lot when we mounted the second set of tyres, even though we didn't change the set up. Now we have to analyse why this was the case as I think a top 10 result was possible today."
Source: Racing Engineering