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Formula 1

Charles Leclerc completed a “double top” for Ferrari on Friday when he outpaced McLaren’s Lando Norris in second practice for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old Monegasque, demonstrating that he has recovered from the trauma of his crashing exit while leading the French Grand Prix last Sunday, clocked a best lap in one minute and 18.445 seconds, two tenths faster than Norris.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari steers his car during the first free practice session ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday. AP

On Friday, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed a “double top” by outpacing McLaren’s Lando Norris in second practice for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Monegasque, demonstrating that he has recovered from the trauma of his crashing exit while leading the French Grand Prix last Sunday, clocked a best lap in one minute and 18.445 seconds, two tenths faster than Norris.
Carlos Sainz, who was fastest in the first session in his Ferrari, finished third, 0.231 seconds behind series leader and world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren.
On his 41st birthday, two-time champion Fernando Alonso finished sixth for Alpine, ahead of his friend and long-time rival, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin.
George Russell finished eighth for Mercedes after struggling with balance, ahead of Sergio Perez, whose frustrations with Red Bull continued, and Valtteri Bottas, who finished tenth for Alfa Romeo.
Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time champion, had a difficult day as well, finishing 11th in the second Mercedes and complaining about his car’s continued instability.
Esteban Ocon, last year’s surprise winner, finished 13th in the second Alpine but may be encouraged by the possibility of very different conditions on Saturday and Sunday.
He took advantage of the conditions last year to win his first race and was confident of a repeat when he arrived in Budapest.

“A million emotions flooded back as soon as I touched down in Budapest,” he said.
“A year ago, we accomplished something incredible, and a dream of mine came true.” But I’m looking for more. We’d like to see more. “The final push before the summer break.”
On a hot and dry afternoon at the Hungaroring, where heavy rain is forecast for Saturday’s qualifying session, it was Leclerc who took the early lead.
Sainz quickly made it a Ferrari one-two at the top before Norris, on softs, took over despite running wide and across the grass and dust at the final corner, confirming McLaren’s preference for the circuit.
‘A little difficult.’
Leclerc regained top spot, but Verstappen and Red Bull appeared to be struggling to match the Ferrari pace and the champion was down in fourth with team-mate Perez ninth with 23 minutes remaining.
“As expected, it was a little tricky today,” Verstappen said.
“We were trying to find the right balance between high and low speed, and it worked sometimes and didn’t other times – there’s still some work to be done.”
The 24-year-old Dutchman has won eight of the season’s twelve races and leads Leclerc by 63 points in the championship, but he is wary of his main rival.
“I believe the Ferraris will be ahead of us this weekend, and it will be difficult to beat them,” he predicted.
“We’ll work hard overnight to close that gap as much as possible.”
The weather appears to be having an effect. We may struggle to compete in the dry, but it may be a different story in the rain – who knows? We’ll see what happens tomorrow.” Mercedes was struggling, and with seven minutes to go, Hamilton caught a big snap of oversteer at Turn Four, sending him into the run-off area.
“The car is unstable,” he said over the team radio.
Hamilton was not the only driver who struggled for performance on an unspectacular day with few incidents as air temperatures reached 35 degrees.
Aston Martin, having introduced a new ‘armchair’ rear wing, appeared to be taking their time to understand its potential with both Vettel and Lance Stroll assuming middle order positions.
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