It was a strong-looking and productive opening practice day of the 2022 Formula 1 season for Scuderia Ferrari on Friday, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. placing inside the top three in both sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Despite a spin in the afternoon session, Leclerc was able to finish second fastest behind Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in the first practice of the year, while he was within a tenth of a second of evening pacesetter Max Verstappen later in the day.
Leclerc completed twenty-two laps in the afternoon session, setting a best time of 1:34.557, before improving to a 1:32.023 under the lights, the Monegasque completing another twenty laps in the session.
Despite appearing to be competitive in Bahrain, Leclerc remains cautious and knows it is early days, although he hopes Ferrari are able to unlock more pace in the F1-75 before Saturday’s Qualifying session.
“Our first two sessions have gone rather well, without any issues,” said Leclerc. “We seem to be quite competitive, but we have to keep in mind that it is still early to draw any conclusions.
“I am quite confident in the car and it felt good overall. We tested many things and worked on the car a lot since the first session. We made good progress and have to keep pushing to find small details ahead of qualifying tomorrow.”
“In FP2 this good feeling went away a bit” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Sainz felt the set-up he had during the afternoon session was better than he had in the evening, but despite this, he was able to finish third quickest in both sessions.
Sainz was the busier of the two drivers, completing twenty-three laps in the afternoon and twenty-two in the evening. He set a time of 1:34.611 in the first session and 1:32.520 in the second.
The Spaniard believes the team will be able to dial in the car ahead of Saturday’s running, and he remains confident of a strong start to the 2022 season.
“FP1 went well, the feeling with the car was good and an improvement from testing,” said Sainz. “Unfortunately, in FP2 this good feeling went away a bit, we didn’t nail the set-up and I struggled to put a clean lap together.
“We definitely need to have a close look at that tonight. I’m confident we can get back to the feeling from this morning and we’ll be ready for qualifying.”