Published: Mon, July 31, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Daniel Ricciardo hopes for pole fight after topping Friday sessions


Ferrari's German Sebastian Vettel, the 2017 Drivers Championship leader, one point ahead of Hamliton, lost control of his auto without crashing into the barriers, but managed to be sixth fastest with 1.077 seconds off the pace.

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

"I don't think there's a delay, we are working hard and we have more to do now".

Silver Arrows star Valtteri Bottas, who on Thursday admitted the track is not a favourite for his team, was in third, 0.201secs off the pace, while the second Scuderia of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, 0.300secs behind the early pacesetter.

A home victory for Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone and Sebastian Vettel's late puncture slashed the German's lead in the drivers' standings to just a point. "It's super-tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it's looking like it will be an exciting weekend". "It is very unclear at the moment as to where we need to change the vehicle, so there is a lot of analysis that needs to go on and I'm hoping that tomorrow when we get out on track it feels better".

The high-downforce and relatively low-speed nature of the Hungaroring should suit the Red Bull, and after topping Friday practice Ricciardo is confident he can take the fight to championship leaders Ferrari and Mercedes.

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

There were encouraging signs at struggling former champions McLaren, who had Fernando Alonso seventh and Belgian team mate Stoffel Vandoorne eighth at the slowest permanent track on the calendar.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer were separated by three tenths of a second as they completed the top 10.

With Robert Kubica testing for Renault next week, amid speculation about what once seemed an impossible comeback after the Pole partially severed his forearm in 2011, Palmer needs to do something special.

The German clouted the barrier with the front-right and then ricocheted into an adjacent barrier, damaging the left-hand side of the auto. He went to the circuit medical centre but was reported to be fine.

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