It's been a long, tiring day for the pilots of the Master Class. They're completed FP1 and 2 in testing conditions. Here's what the pilots thought of their return to Budapest...
"We're pretty happy with how it went for us. The conditions were bumpy but everyone had to deal with that. We were pretty error free and had only one all day – so happy with that. We're not on the pace yet, we're not pushing as hard as we could, but we're sneaking up on it and know what we need to do."
"We came here thinking this place would be straightforward and fairly easy, but it was completely the opposite. To try and fly clean, it's really difficult. When you're going south, you're almost avoiding the gate rather than flying around it because of the tailwind, and you're coming up to the gates so quickly. It's not the way you want to fly. So it's a place where you can make penalties without even trying."
"We tested things in Free Practice 2 and we're very happy with the first day of training. I think we're 90 per cent there with maybe a few tweaks, I need to check now. The guys are so close, but we need some fine tuning and we should be great. It's really fun to fly over the city and it's the most iconic race."
"The first run we had hundreds of technical problems, but the team managed to fix it before the second session. It's a little bumpy in the track, but it's definitely flyable. It's an interesting track with this wind and these conditions – it's making it a technical and challenging track which makes it incredible."
"Free Practice was not as I expected; the track is really fast, but we knew that from before. Free Practice 1 we collected a lot of penalties for incorrect level because we were rolling too early in the gate. And Free Practice 2 it was super bumpy, so there's lots of room for improvements."
"Free Practice 1 went really well and went according to exactly how we were expecting it to go. Passing the Start Gate the speed never stopped to build for the VTM, but we posted a very good time in the first Free Practice, which was the second fastest time of the day. The second Free Practice went very, very quick. I only flew in the track for 11 seconds before exceeding the maximum G so I had to come back for the G inspection, but overall it's good. The team is good and I'm feeling good in the plane."
"It's a fast track; we remember this from previous years, you come through with a lot of energy and there's not much that slows you down. I like Budapest, the city's beautiful and I think most of the guys are excited to come here and race. Putting yourself in the final round in any race is what's required and it was a good race in Chiba and there are some good signs for us here in Budapest. But it's always a challenge because everyone is running so fast."
"The track was fine; a bit bumpy, but I enjoyed it. It's not a super difficult track or anything, but I think that the conditions can change here really quickly and hopefully, we'll be able to take advantage of that. I don't like the bumps that much because you're getting thrown all over. As you try to go to the left, the right wing suddenly drops and you turn to the right, but it's all good."
François Le Vot
"It was good, I'm happy overall. I'm happy that I was able to bring the modifications into the track without any major issues and I feel I can fly my style. I have to get used to the roll rate though as it's changed a little bit. We have a lot of data we can exploit now, our preparation was good and we are in a good way. If we look at the numbers, it is my best first day of Free Practice in three years since I joined the Master Class and we have great expectations."
"We're happy but it's a very demanding track. It's high speed and managing the Gs is the main issue. I had an over-G in both sessions, but I'm generally happy with the flying. The track is very similar and there are very few changes, but it is faster and it's more demanding because the pilots have to control that energy."
"Today was another tick in the box [flying under the Chain Bridge]. It was a great experience, but you move very quickly into 'done that now' and move on. We'd really improved in Free Practice 2. It's a little bit bumpy out there now, a little bit windy – but to be honest I've flown Harriers at low level in Scottish and Welsh weather in the winter, so I'm used to being thrown around the cockpit. It's a very fast track and we've seen quite a mix of tactics, and we've tried some different things, but we're going to look at the data now, but I like it."
"We're back! This is a restart of the 2018 season. We set it as a goal because I was too conservative, not really pushing, and the raceplane was kind of slow. We did a lot, and we planned a lot, and we're going to push really, really hard. So yeah, it's a milestone, but I think this is only the beginning."
"It's a great track, as usual. It was bumpy and a little bit difficult to keep the control of the raceplane finely tuned, especially this afternoon – that's why the times are a little bit higher. There's a strong wind on the north end so you have to be careful not to over-G and the raceplane is keeping a lot of speed in the track. You also have to be careful of the side wind in the middle of the track as it tries to push you into the pylon, but it's all good."
"The conditions were better in the second flight, the first flight was a little bit more bumpy. The wind was also stronger, so after the first high-G turn the speed was really high. This morning I was lost in the track and went the wrong way. This afternoon was better but the time was the same so I will have to learn and do better tomorrow."
The pilots have a final practice session tomorrow before Qualifying, follow all the action HERE.