Sebastian Vettel says returning to Formula 1 action just days after the death of former head Sergio Marchionne is ‘probably the best thing’ to allow the team to focus on the Hungarian Grand Prix.

With Ferrari running a black strip on its car for this weekend as a mark of respect to the passing of Marchionne, who died on Wednesday just days after stepping down as CEO and chairman, Vettel gave his team the ideal start at the Hungaroring by topping the second free practice session ahead of both Red Bull drivers – edging out Max Verstappen by 0.074s.

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Vettel is confident in his Ferrari’s one lap pace, with qualifying seen as all-important in Hungary given the overtaking difficulties seen at the circuit in recent years, and hopes to use the race to allow his team to respond after the tragic loss of its former boss.

“I think it is probably best to get in the car because everybody knows what to do, obviously it was not easy but I think today the work has been okay,” Vettel said “Having a lot of work in front of you is probably the best thing to get your head away and focus on the job we have to do here.

“It is probably quite good to have a race straight away to get your head away and focus on the next thing to do.

“I think qualifying is very important here for the start as overtaking is very difficult. Whoever is ahead after the first couple of corners that will probably be very crucial but to get there, there is a lot of things to do and some work ahead.

“I was pretty happy this afternoon, happier than this morning, and I think the car is pretty good for one lap. We can still improve but it has been one of the better Fridays as they’ve been a little bit up and down for us lately.”

Marchionne had fallen ill in recent weeks, stepping down from his role as CEO and chairman of Ferrari due to his condition last Saturday, and has been replaced by Mike Manley who was the head of the Fiat Chrysler's Jeep division.

The FCA Group confirmed Marchionne's passing at the age of 66 on Wednesday following complications from surgery.

 

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