Daniel Ricciardo fastest in Hungary Formula 1 practice

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    Daniel Ricciardo has reminded Formula One’s title contenders that Red Bull remain a force to reckon with after lapping fastest in crash-interrupted practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    The Australian, fourth in the championship topped the timesheets in both sessions with a best time of one minute 18.455 seconds in the afternoon, ahead of championship leader, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

    After the second stint in his Red Bull, which is sporting an aerodynamic upgrade for the race, Ricciardo was confident he could put the car on pole on Saturday.

    “To replicate the same pace this morning and this afternoon was great,” Ricciardo said.

    “You don’t know what Ferrari and Mercedes will do (tomorrow) but it was a good day.

    “If we replicate today then yes we can (take pole).”

    His comfort level at the circuit where he has been on the podium in the last three years, winning the 2014 race is high and Ricciardo was also happy with what the new upgrades to his Red Bull had brought.

    “We obviously brought some updates here and they seem to be working,” he said.

    “I definitely feel like we have found some grip in various areas and taken a step in the right direction.

    “We know this track usually suits us so it was important to come here and extract everything we could out of the car and make sure the updates did their job which in turn can allow us to fight with the guys up front.

    “I have a car I am comfortable with and I’m at a track I enjoy so it will be an exciting weekend.”

    Vettel was second fastest, 0.183 off the pace, after a slow start to his weekend.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, a point behind the German in the standings and chasing a record sixth Hungarian victory on Sunday, was third and fifth respectively in the two sessions.

    Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, second fastest in the morning, was fourth behind fellow-Finn Valtteri Bottas after lunch.

    Vettel had been more than a second slower than Ricciardo in sixth place on a warm but cloudy morning at the Hungaroring outside Budapest.

    “Struggling a lot with oversteer and rear tyres didn’t seem to be ready,” the German said over the team radio.

    Ricciardo’s Dutch teammate Max Verstappen was fourth and sixth.

    There were encouraging signs at struggling former champions McLaren, who had Fernando Alonso and Belgian teammate Stoffel Vandoorne in the top 10 in both sessions at the slowest permanent track on the calendar.

    © Reuters 2017
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