Rafael Villagómez was satisfied to have gotten Round 6 off to a promising start in the opening Free Practice session in Budapest, but the Van Amersfoort Racing driver admitted things didn’t go entirely according to plan.

Recording his best Practice result since his P10 in Barcelona, it was the second half of the 45-minute session that allowed him to get up to speed after encountering earlier difficulties. Utilising the soft set of tyres carried over from the previous round in Spielberg, the whole field initially used those to explore the limits of the Hungaroring circuit before bolting on the medium Pirellis, which will be used throughout the rest of the weekend.

That change in compound proved to be pivotal for Villagómez, who says he was struggling with minor problems during the opening runs. Nonetheless, the Mexican feels that the times on the board don’t demonstrate his full potential despite a solid run late on, having been caught up traffic during both his attempts at a flying lap.

"The first session for the weekend went alright for us,” he summarised. “At the beginning, we went out on the carryover set of the softs, but that didn't really go to plan to be honest. We had small issues that just kept getting worse and worse, so we decided to try out the mediums, which is what we’re going to use for Qualifying and that was much better.

“Being this warm doesn’t help because as it’s a softer compound, everything comes in easier. I had to be really, really careful – it could be due to the heat, but we know the track here, the track surface is very warm.

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“I think we covered most of the problems. I think we will see even more traffic in Qualifying and on both of my laps I got a bit of traffic, which was not ideal. But overall, it was positive. I’m happy with how it went. Quite happy with the car, just more changes like always. So far so good.”

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Looking ahead into Qualifying, Villagómez is optimistic about his pace at a track that requires full concentration. The black and orange VAR car has yet to qualify higher than 16th on the grid and a strong showing later on Friday afternoon could put him firmly in contention for his first points since the Imola Sprint Race.

However, given his experiences in Practice, he acknowledged that the team have had to strategically plan out for several eventualities should traffic prove to be a thorn in his side once again.

“Hopefully from here it's even better from how it was in Free Practice. It’s such a cool track, I love it! Super twisty and you go from corner to corner, so you don't have much space to, let's say, think about other stuff rather than driving.

“You can never predict how traffic is going to be. We had our debrief and it was one of the topics, so we have a few plans and ideas if we're in that situation on how to deal with it.”