After the first day of action at the Algarve International Circuit, the Scuderia Ferrari team can be very happy with their days work. Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. looked impressive in their prancing horse, but can they take it into qualifying on Saturday?
Leclerc looked to have strong short run pace after ending Free Practice One in fourth place with a 1:19.884, +0.8s faster than teammate Sainz. He looked less strong on his race simulation, noting that there is work to be done in that area. Nevertheless despite ending Free Practice Two in seventh, it’s been a good start to the weekend for Leclerc who is enjoying the challenging track conditions.
“It was quite a good start to the weekend. It was fun to drive, the track was very slippery and especially with the wind it was tricky. It’s a real pleasure to drive in these conditions. You are always on the limit with the car and I really enjoy that. FP2 was a lot of fun, there were a lot of gusts of wind all around the track. We completed the whole programme we had planned and it looks like we are quite competitive.”
“The short runs were good, the long-runs a little bit less so and I think that is the main weakness for me today so I still have to work on that. We are all very close and I think it will come down to who makes the least mistakes in qualifying and the race. I hope it will be a good weekend for us and that we can build on this positive first day.“
“Looking forward to tomorrow. Vamos!” – Sainz Jr.
On the other side of the garage Carlos Sainz Jr. also looked to be in a very strong position heading into Saturday. Sainz was way off Leclerc’s short run pace after ending Free Practice One in ninth. However the story was the other way around in Free Practice Two as Sainz ended the afternoon session in fourth, only +0.2s off Leclerc’s best time so far.
The Spaniard looks to have good race pace and is upbeat looking ahead into the rest of the weekend, after continuing his steady progression in his Ferrari.
“Another positive Friday, another day of building experience with the car. We are maintaining our positive learning curve, as this weekend the conditions and the tarmac are very different to the previous venues. Bahrain and Imola were high-grip tracks, while here in Portimao it was quite slippery and really windy today. I like the challenge of having to find the grip where there isn’t any!“
“Last year, I really enjoyed racing here a lot. We are fully focused on tomorrow. We saw in Imola that Friday may be misleading when comparing our one lap pace to our competitors, so we are wary of that.“
“I think the key to the weekend is going to be understanding the tyres, as we set similar times on Soft and Mediums. We need to master the car’s behaviour with the different compounds, understand how to warm up the tyres properly and then identify when is the right time to try and set the fastest lap. Looking forward to tomorrow. Vamos!”