Scuderia Ferrari appear to have a thing for street circuits this season, after looking strong yet again during the opening day of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
After an impressive yet also disappointing Monaco Grand Prix, the team have clearly carried their speed into this weekend with Carlos Sainz Jr in third and Charles Leclerc in fourth.
Carlos Sainz ended the day as top Ferrari, as he too looks to keep his own momentum going after his second place finish at Monaco. The Spaniard however isn’t paying too much attention to the timesheets, especially with the strength of the tow down the start/finish straight potentially hiding some teams true pace. Despite this it was a good opening day for Sainz.
“Today we were a bit quicker than we had expected. However, the time sheets can be misleading, with cars getting tows on the straights – myself included – and others not finishing flying laps for various reasons. Still, it was an encouraging first day for the team here in Baku.”
“Tomorrow afternoon will obviously be a better indicator ahead of qualifying, so we need to work out where we can gain a bit of lap time on the short runs, as well as finding a good compromise to make the tyres work on the long runs. There could be opportunities this weekend and we need to be ready to make the most of them.”
“We have to maximize our potential” – Leclerc
It was also a good day for Charles Leclerc, who finished the day in a respectable fourth spot despite a coming together with the turn fifteen barrier, losing his front wing in the process. The strong winds blowing around the Baku City Circuit have caused problems for drivers all day, including Leclerc.
Ferrari clearly have a lot of potential this weekend, as it seems to appear that their car is best suited to street circuits, following up on their overall strong weekend in Monaco. Similar to Sainz though, Leclerc is fully under the impression that their closest competitors haven’t yet shown their true colours most notably the Silver Arrows.
“It was definitely a better day than we expected, but it’s only the first day of practice.The pace looked promising, and we will keep working overnight to be as competitive tomorrow. I felt quite comfortable in the car today, especially in terms of braking, maybe even too comfortable, pushing a bit too much into turn 15.”
“But in the end, that’s what free practice is for – testing the limits. I was on a good lap there and we will see what we can do tomorrow.Our main competitors are quick, even though they haven’t shown it yet. We have to make sure we do everything perfectly. We have to maximize our potential and hopefully we can have a good qualifying.”