Scuderia Ferrari came into the Belgian Grand Prix expecting a tough weekend and Friday’s two practice sessions all but confirmed they are in for a rough time of it at Spa-Francorchamps.
Neither Charles Leclerc nor Sebastian Vettel were able to break into the top ten in either session and they weren’t even the fastest Ferrari-powered car – they were behind Kimi Räikkönen in the leading Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN car in the morning and then behind both the Finn and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi in the afternoon.
Leclerc ended the morning session with only the fourteenth fastest time, and he followed that up by ending the afternoon a lowly fifteenth in what he described as a ‘very difficult day’.
“It was a very difficult day,” said Leclerc. “We are really struggling with the balance of the car. We tried quite a few things in the second session, including something quite aggressive in terms of downforce level but it didn’t quite work out.
“It’s probably a surprise to be so far back, but we are just lacking pace at the moment and have to work hard to catch up. But I’m not expecting any miracles this weekend.
“Our job as drivers is to give our best and that’s what I am trying to do. It has happened before that we have been struggling on Friday and then come up with a solution on Saturday, so I hope this will be the case tomorrow.”
“I am sure tomorrow will be a bit better” – Sebastian Vettel
Team-mate Vettel finished fifteenth in the morning session and then fell behind Williams Racing’s George Russell in the afternoon to end seventeenth, with the German agreeing with Leclerc’s analysis of it being a ‘difficult day’ for the Scuderia.
However, Vettel expects Saturday to be slightly better for Ferrari, although he hopes the rain comes so it shakes up the order and gives the team a chance of breaking into the top ten.
“It was a difficult day for us,” said Vettel. “The car was tricky and difficult to drive and we are not quite where we should be as we struggled with the balance. We are looking to find options for the set up and we tried something different.
“I am sure tomorrow will be a bit better, but we don’t yet know what the weather will be like. We had a glimpse of wet conditions this year in Austria therefore we are aware it won’t be the easiest thing to deal with, but it always provides a chance to mix things up, so let’s wait and see what happens.”