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Robert Kubica seventh, Sebastian Vettel fastest in testing

Kubica seventh, Vettel fastest in testing
By AutoSport

02/08/2017 at 21:44Updated 03/08/2017 at 00:42

Robert Kubica clocked the seventh quickest time on his return to official Formula 1 testing in Hungary with Renault, as Sebastian Vettel set the pace for Ferrari.

Kubica was taking part in his first run in a contemporary F1 car since his career was interrupted by a rallying crash six-and-a-half years ago. His performance on Wednesday at the Hungaroring is considered to be crucial in determining whether he can return to F1 in 2018.

The Pole left the pits within minutes of the track action starting, completing a single installation lap before returning to the garage. A second installation run followed before he completed his first timed lap of the day - a 1m24.299s on the super-softs.

Robert Kubica of Poland and Renault Sport F1 looks on from the pit wall during day one of F1 in-season testing at Hungaroring on August 1, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Robert Kubica of Poland and Renault Sport F1 looks on from the pit wall during day one of F1 in-season testing at Hungaroring on August 1, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)Getty Images

He improved on each lap of the five-lap run before pitting with a best time of 1m22.701s. Kubica improved on each of his next four runs, the latter of which lasted 11 laps and produced consistent laptimes, to drop down to 1m20.255s.

The Pole went fourth quickest on his seventh run, using the super-softs, leaving him 2.557s off the pace. Two further runs followed, before a final 15-lap blast, where he lapped consistently in the low to mid-1m21s, just before lunch brought his morning lap tally to 74.

That was more than a race distance at the Hungaroring, albeit across 10 stints.

Vettel completed just over two hours of running before vacating the car as planned so Ferrari could make adjustments ahead of Kimi Raikkonen hitting the track in the final hour.

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel races at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest on July 30, 2017, during the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel races at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest on July 30, 2017, during the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix.Getty Images

Vettel completed 40 laps during that period, clocking the fastest time of the morning with a 1m17.124s on the super-softs, 1.113s quicker than Raikkonen in third.

Lando Norris, who is driving for McLaren in Hungary as part of his prize for winning the 2016 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, was second quickest, 0.770s off the pace on the ultra-softs.

Carlos Sainz Jr, also running the ultra-softs, was fourth, ahead of handing the car over to Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat in the afternoon. Mercedes DTM frontrunner Lucas Auer ran the ultra-softs to go fifth for Force India, two tenths ahead of GP3 racer George Russell, taking part in his second successive day of testing for Mercedes.

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