Two-way tussle for Epsilon and SG? Two teams dominated the three hours of collective testing at the Hungaroring: Epsilon Red Bull and SG Formula. Brendon Hartley and Jules Bianchi were the quickest in today's sessions, but their team-mates ...
Two-way tussle for Epsilon and SG?
Two teams dominated the three hours of collective testing at the Hungaroring: Epsilon Red Bull and SG Formula. Brendon Hartley and Jules Bianchi were the quickest in today's sessions, but their team-mates have yet to throw in the towel!
The French championship competitors, who had come straight from the Val de Vienne circuit where they had raced last weekend, wasted little time getting into their stride. With two minutes of the morning session remaining, Jules Bianchi (SG Formula) became the first to dip under the 1'46'' mark. He thus moved ahead of his team-mates Alexandre Marsoin and Charles Pic. Winner of two races in France, Marsoin is clearly determined to make up the ground on Pic in the championship: "I came into the weekend in good spirits after winning last weekend. This afternoon I didn't make the most of my new tyres, but I think I deserved to be in the top three."
In the afternoon, Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon) went quickest with a lap of 1'44''453, just ten minutes before the end of the session. After his double win at Zolder, the New Zealander had been out of contention at the Nurburgring due to a broken finger. He was determined to return to form today: "I didn't put new tyres on the car this morning. Things went very well in the second session, although I think I can still improve through the first two hairpins."
The first sector was clearly difficult for many of the drivers. The day's second quickest driver, Jules Bianchi, also lost two tenths in the renowned hairpin section: "I was in the top five on worn tyres and I also did well on new tyres. Once I've worked out how to negotiate the first two corners, it'll be fine!"
After experiencing some setbacks in the early part of the season, Stefano Coletti (Epsilon Red Bull) hit form today, clocking the day's third quickest time: "I lost half an hour due to a steering problem and so I could only do one lap on my fresh set of tyres. We'll have to work even harder tomorrow to fine tune the setup. I hope that this a new start to the season for me!"
Fourth quickest, Romanian driver Mihai Marinescu (District Racing) confirmed that he is an outsider worth watching: "It's true that we're not that far from Romania but I don't really feel like I am racing on home soil here. This is the first time I've driven here! I didn't expect to be so high up the rankings because my car is not yet perfect. We will try to maintain our good form in qualifying."
Mika Maki (Red Bull Epsilon) rounded off the top five, just ahead of his team-mate Jaime Alguersuari. The Finn was not however entirely satisfied with his day's work: "The balance of the car wasn't very good this morning and so we had to work all day to improve it. Things were better with fresh tyres, but we improve further to make up the ground on Brendon."
One of the favourites, Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team) had an extremely frustrating day. Only 21st, the Dutch driver hopes for better things to come: "We tried a new setup but it didn't work out. To be honest, we haven't found the right setup as yet. As things stand, I think I fight for fifth place, but probably no better than that."