It has been a strong opening day to the Spanish Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari, who look to have the third fastest car on track at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Charles Leclerc looked strong through both of the Friday practices sessions, ending the day with a fastest time of a 1:18.335. This was good enough for an impressive third place in Free Practice Two, two places higher than where he ended up in Free Practice One.
The Monegasque driver is already feeling much better with the car than he did at the race last year, and is hoping to qualify near the front.
“We had a good, clean day. I’ve changed my approach a little bit since Portimão. After every weekend, I try to analyse where I need to improve. So far, I’m driving a lot better and feel I am in a good place with the car, so I’m quite happy.”
“Last year we struggled quite a lot here, and this year the car feels much better. It’s great for the whole team, especially those back at the factory who work so hard and can see it pay off looking at the numbers. It motivates us all.”
“Tomorrow will be important with qualifying on this track. If there is a nice surprise then that will be welcome, but I think that the objective is to be just behind the front runners.”
“It’s been an encouraging day for us” – Sainz
It is the first home race for Carlos Sainz Jr. since moving to the Scuderia, and the Spaniard like teammate Leclerc, is encouraged by today’s results. However Sainz has found himself to be a little off Leclerc, with an all important place in final qualifying looking like it will be a tough task.
Sainz ended the faster free practice two in eighth place, just over 0.4 seconds behind Leclerc. Sainz will be looking to tweak his car’s balance in the final free practice tomorrow morning, after not feeling completely comfortable by the end of the day. Clearly some work to be done by the Spaniard tomorrow.
“It’s been an encouraging day for us. Right from FP1 we saw the track had quite a lot of grip, which helped with the overall balance of the car.”
“However, in FP2, the balance went away a bit from what I was looking for, particularly for the last sector. Hopefully we can keep working and digging and put it all together for qualifying tomorrow.”
“Reaching Q3 won’t be easy, as we expect three or four cars to be in the same tenth, so we need to make sure we are as prepared as possible.”