Scuderia Ferrari ended Friday on top of the timing sheets once again, as they look to conquer on the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, a circuit of which they have won only once in the last eleven years.
Sebastian Vettel headed Charles Leclerc in Free Practice 2 by only two hundredths of a second, as his running earlier in the morning was affected by rain, hence completing only thirteen laps in Free Practice 1 alone.
The German was pleased with how his Ferrari performed on the day and hopes to see even more of an improvement on Saturday.
“The car was good, but it was not at all easy today on the track with the weather conditions that made it difficult to run continuously. However, I believe we understand what is needed to move the car forward,” Vettel shared.
“My pace was better on the dry lap than I was able to keep in the race configuration. In this sense we need to find more grip, working on the balance of the car to optimise it for long runs.
“I am convinced that we can take a step forward even though I believe that the race will not be easy for us because I expect the values in the field to be similar to those of the last two Grand Prix. Now we need to focus on the changes we need to make to improve our performance. Tomorrow we will understand better what we can expect from qualifying and the race.”
Charles Leclerc is already on the back foot, as his ten-place grid penalty for a new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) will make his weekend tougher than what he would have wanted.
The Monegasque accumulated thirty-five laps in the afternoon session, five more than his team-mate.
However, Leclerc does not believe the times and pace shown on Friday to be as representative as what Saturday and Sunday is expected to be.
“Overall today was a positive day. Our qualifying configuration pace looks good, while we still have work to do to improve our pace ahead of the race,” Leclerc added. “I’m also happy to have been able to ride in the rain and that’s why I asked to get on the track as early as possible in the morning.
“Of course, those conditions were not really representative because it seems that we will not find them tomorrow and Sunday when we expect higher temperatures and little rain. However, it was positive to see that even in those conditions we were competitive. Certainly there is the possibility of improvement and we will make sure to work on the changes to be made tomorrow.
“We face the qualifications knowing that we will have to serve a penalty on the grid, but this does not change anything for me. It will be important to push hard to be able to shoot as far as possible.”