Charles Leclerc will head into the summer break on a high after ending the first day of the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test with the fastest time for the Scuderia Ferrari team.
The current FIA Formula 2 Championship leader and winner of five races in the first half of the season, completed 98-laps of the Hungaroring on Tuesday, and a late lap of 1:17.746s on the Soft Pirelli compound saw him edge out Stoffel Vandoorne at the top of the timing screens.
Leclerc knows lap times in tests mean very little, but he felt the experience meant so much more, especially working with the Ferrari mechanics as he continues to dream about a possible promotion to a race seat in Formula 1 next season.
“Driving a Ferrari is never a ‘normal’ experience,” said Leclerc. “I felt as though I was driving a race car for the very first time. It’s a great honour I have been accorded and I thank Ferrari with all my heart for this opportunity.
“I am pleased with the work I did and I hope the team is too. Driving the SF70H was a fantastic feeling and coming from F2, it’s a whole other world, from every point of view. It was the first time that I’ve driven a Formula 1 car with the wider tyres and this level of aerodynamic downforce and it was an incredible feeling.
“I also learned a lot from the work in the garage: Ferrari has the best engineers in the world and I felt very comfortable working with them. To set the fastest time is nice, but, in testing, its importance is only relative.
“I can now go on holiday in a happy mood, before concentrating on the second part of the F2 season. For the moment, Formula 1 is just a dream. I still have work to do and I know that: one step at a time.”
Ferrari will run both of their regular race drivers on Wednesday, with both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel set for some track time.