Antonio Giovinazzi topped the timesheets and posted the fastest-ever lap at the Hungaroring as he impressed for Ferrari on the first day of Budapest’s in-season test.
According to Skysports, the Italian’s 1:15.648 was set on the hypersoft tyre, the quickest compound in F1 and one that was not available to drivers at the Hungarian GP. But the time was still over half a second faster than what Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen managed over the race weekend, although qualifying was hit by rain.
Giovinazzi, who is a Ferrari young driver and took part in two F1 grands prix last year for Sauber, finished 2.5s ahead of closest challenger Marcus Ericsson, with other teams appearing to be running completely different testing programmes to the Scuderia.
Evidence of that was the fact the lead championship driver in action on Tuesday, Daniel Ricciardo, was only sixth for Red Bull and more than four seconds off the pace.
Young British hopefuls Lando Norris and George Russell, the top two in the F2 championship, were handed another chance to shine in an F1 test, and finished fourth and fifth on the timesheets for McLaren and Mercedes respectively.
Russell, however, only completed 49 laps for the Mercedes team – race-winners through Lewis Hamilton at the same track on Sunday – who tend to run and run when it comes to a day of testing.
Instead it was Toro Rosso who topped the mileage charts, with Brendon Hartley – an impressive third – and Sean Gelael – testing Pirelli’s 2019 tyre prototypes – racking up a combined 235 laps for the Honda-powered team.
But Gelael did cause the only red flag of the day when crashing into the barriers at the high-speed Turn 11. He was unable to return to the track after the heavy damage to his STR13.
That afternoon shunt, followed by rain, may have contributed to the wide gap between Ferrari and their rivals, with teams having to abort their final few hours of dry running as intermediate tyres were bolted on.
As ever with an in-season test, there were plenty of innovations on the cars, from aero rakes to aero paint, but the most notable of those were the prototype versions of the F1 2019 front wings.
Force India and Williams became the first teams to run the wider and simplified front wings which will be introduced permanently next season, giving a glimpse into the sport’s future.
But the star of the show was certainly Giovinazzi with his unofficial track record.
Of course, the fuel levels in his car are unknown and Ferrari’s fastest time from the Hungarian GP, a 1:16.170 from Vettel on ultrasofts, was set in Practice Three – the team did not turn their engines up and post a quick lap in qualifying due to the rain.
But it will be interesting to see how his ultrasoft-tyre lap compares to Kimi Raikkonen when he gets in the SF71-H on Day Two of the test, when Robert Kubica will also be in action for Williams.