Formula One Gets A Glimpse Of The Future As Youngster Charles Leclerc Sets Blistering Pace In Feeder Series

A glimpse into the future of Formula One was offered in Hungary on Tuesday as Formula 2 championship leader Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of the day behind the wheel of a Ferrari, just one and a half seconds slower than last weekend’s pole position time set by Sebastian Vettel.

The 19-year-old waited until the end of the day to put in his fastest lap, clocked at 1:17.746, to outpace the McLaren of current driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Leclerc already looks destined to follow in Vandoorne’s footsteps by winning the main feeder series to F1, providing he can hold on to the 50-point lead he has built up this season, and has already been signed up to the Ferrari young drivers programme as a potential star of the future. 

 

Topping the timesheet was all the more impressive given that Frenchman Leclerc set his fastest lap on the soft compound Pirelli tyres, with Vandoorne’s quickest time coming when he was on a set of ultra-softs, a compound two steps faster than the soft tyres and one that was not available during last weekend’s Grand Prix.

"I love the car," said Leclerc. "I feel ready, it's quite a big step but I don't think there are any more steps l need to do before coming to Formula 1."

After beaten Mercedes into submission on Sunday with a one-two finish, race winner Vettel will now test the Ferrari on Wednesday morning in an unexpected change to the schedule, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen set for the afternoon session.

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However, Mercedes were also given plenty to watch as GP3 series leader, George Russell, completed over 100 laps of the Hungaroring and finished just one place behind Sunday’s third-place finisher in Valtteri Bottas, who was driving the other Mercedes car in a test for Pirelli for next year’s tyres.

British teenager Russell, who clinched victories this year in the Spielberg and Silverstone feature races, is expected to graduate to F2 next season, though showed he has the potential to go all the way after finishing ahead of current F1 protégé Max Verstappen, whose Red Bull was restricted to just 51 laps due to engine troubles.

On Wednesday, all eyes will be on the return of former F1 driver Robert Kubica, who returns to the cockpit with Renault six years after having his career interrupted following a serious rallying crash. The Pole nearly lost his right arm in a crash in Italy, but he will test the Renault on Wednesday after passing the FIA’s extraction test, and will hope to prove he can return to a full-time drive in 2018.

Timings:

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 1:17.746

2. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), 1:17.834

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 1:18.732

4. George Russell (Mercedes), 1:19.231

5. Lance Stroll (Williams), 1:19.866

6. Nikita Mazepin (Force India), 1:19.910

7. Nicholas Latifi (Renault), 1:20.302

8. Sean Gelael (Toro Rosso), 1:20.341

9. Lucas Auer (Force India), 1:20.563

10. Santino Ferrucci (Haas), 1:21.185

11. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 1:21.228

12. Gustav Malja (Sauber), 1:21.503


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Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/Formula1/formula-one-f1-charles-leclerc-f2-championship-ferrari-young-drivers-hungaroring-a7871851.html

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