Scuderia Ferrari‘s drivers were upbeat after the Maranello-based team topped the time sheets in both Free Practice one and two on Friday.
Both drivers took it in turns to share the top step of the timesheets with Sebastian Vettel fastest in the morning session by 0.214 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc, who then reversed the positions in FP2 with Leclerc going 0.630 seconds faster than his team-mate in the afternoon to complete a Ferrari whitewash of free practice.
Vettel who comes into Spa without a win for twelve months, was not counting his chickens until Sunday afternoon, where Ferrari will hope to take their first win of the season after a challenging first half which saw Ferrari beaten by Red Bull Racing and Mercedes AMG Motorsport.
“It was a positive day and it’s great to be back in the car, especially at a track like this,” said Vettel. “The feeling from the cockpit was good, but I think there is still room for improvement. Let’s not forget it’s only Friday and it will only get serious tomorrow afternoon and then Sunday when it matters.
“On a quick lap, the performance was okay, but the race is not just one lap and so we have to work on improving our race pace, especially in the second sector. In today’s two sessions, we were sliding a bit too much in the middle sector and so for the race, it will be important to optimise the tyre behaviour. We still have work to do tomorrow.”
Leclerc, who is still looking for his maiden Grand Prix victory, will be hoping to go a bit further than in last year’s renewal after being eliminated at the start by Fernando Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg.
“It was quite a good first day for us after the holidays,” reflected Leclerc. “I really like this circuit and enjoy driving here. The track is quite long, has all types of corners and there’s a very unique flow to it.
“Despite our good positions in free practice, we do have to stay realistic and expect our rivals to be very competitive tomorrow. Our qualifying pace was strong today, but we still have some work ahead of us in improving it over the long runs. If we are quick on the straights, we will hopefully have some good opportunities for overtaking on Sunday, which is a positive.
“The last few Grands Prix have been great, with a lot of battles, so I hope that this race will be another exciting one.“
Ferrari will be hoping to make it back to back victories at the Belgium circuit, in what seems to be a track that will suit the SF90’s low downforce.