Scuderia Ferrari had another positive day on Friday as they topped both free practice sessions at the revised Albert Park circuit, but Charles Leclerc says there is a lot more time to find before Qualifying.
Having finished second fastest behind team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. during the morning session, Leclerc took over at the top in the afternoon, with his time of 1:18.978 seeing end the day with the new lap record, two-tenths of a second clear of Max Verstappen.
However, despite setting the pace, the Monegasque racer feels no one showed their true pace on Friday, and he expects times to tumble during Saturday’s running in Australia.
“For me, today was a bit of a harder Friday,” admitted Leclerc. “FP1 was a bit tricky, I improved in terms of driving in FP2, but there is still quite a bit of work to do.
“I don’t think that anyone really put their lap together. Qualifying is tomorrow, when hopefully we’ll have a good run. Let’s push!”
“We have a good baseline” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Sainz admitted it was an interesting opening day of running as everyone adapted to the new layout at Albert Park, with the Spaniard enjoying a positive day behind the wheel of his F1-75.
Sainz started the day by setting the best time of the morning session, ending more than half a second clear of anyone else, and he finished third quickest in the afternoon, just under four-tenths behind Leclerc.
The Spaniard, who has finished on the podium in both of the opening two races, says they have a good baseline set-up for the rest of the weekend, although he says there is still performance to find before Saturday’s all-important Qualifying hour.
“It has been an interesting Friday as we had to deal with a lot of new things compared to the last time that we raced here,” said Sainz. “The track is completely different from what it used to be: it’s definitely faster and the new tarmac feels totally different in terms of grip as far as I can remember.
“We need to keep working on understanding how the tyres behave but, in general, I think we have a good baseline to start preparing for tomorrow’s qualifying.”