With around just 10 minutes to go in final practice at the F1 Hungarian GP, Sebastian Vettel lost his Aston Martin at turn 10 and slid backwards into the barrier having a big impact. The track was drying quickly which meant bottom of the grid usual’s Williams drivers were P1 and P3 with Nicolas Latiffi claiming the honours. The Williams cars were last over the line before the session concluded and benefitted from the best track conditions.
A frustrated Vettel screamed an expletive following the impact and then said “sorry” over the pit radio knowing the work his mechanics would now have to rush through before qualifying in 2 hour time.
Aston’s German driver was unhurt but has taken 3 gear boxes this season so far and will get a no penalty new box and/or cassette depending on how severe the damage is. The gear box rules have changed this season and each car is allowed 4 changes without penalty.
Initially the Sky commentators felt a new gearbox would definitely be required.
Martin Brundle’s opinion was the impact wasn’t big enough to severely damage the gear box. He said, “When they were pulling the car out I was surprised the rear wing wasn’t damaged more”.
Aston Martin have brought a radical new wing to the Hungarian GP and additional production numbers may be limited should it be damaged.
The Mercedes’ cars has struggled all session to generate heat in the tyres and were languishing at the bottom of the time sheets. The W13 car has suffered similar problems with tyre temperature with Lewis Hamilton struggling on fresh rubber at a safety car restart in Silverstone.
The Silver Arrows drivers kept switching between the extreme wet tyres and the intermediates hoping one of the compounds would work.
“No grip. Struggling a lot,” reported Russell over the radio.
“These tyres are just not working at all. They’re so cold. How I don’t know”
The all new Mercedes car is the opposite of its predecessor which often struggled with high tyre temperatures burning out the rubber more quickly than their competitors. A wet qualifying session could see a dramatic exit for either George Russell or Lewis Hamilton in Q1.
Lewis too questioned, “Are my tyre’s cold or something?”
Bono informed him, “We are struggling to generate temperature, rear axle in particular.”
Russell finished the session P5 eventually but this was a false position given cars below him hadn’t benefitted from the drying track.
10 minutes after the session ended the paddock was bathed in sunshine but the forecast is for rain at the beginning of qualifying which adds to Mercedes woes because during the session the rain is expected to abate and qualifying to end in dry conditions.