Charles Leclerc ended both free practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday with the quickest time, with the Monegasque racer aiming to return to winning ways this weekend.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver has seen main title rival Max Verstappen triumph in the past two Grand Prix to reduce his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to just nineteen points, but he started the weekend in Spain in the right way.
Leclerc says his short runs looked promising on Friday, but they have work to do on their long runs, something he hopes they can address.
“Our qualifying runs don’t look bad, but we have some work to do, in particular on our race pace and on tyre management,” said Leclerc. “The stints we did on the Soft compound felt better than those on the Mediums.
“Tonight, we will analyse our latest data to find where we can improve on this track, as the conditions are very different to the last time we were here during winter testing.”
“A bit of a tricky FP2 compared to a positive FP1” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. finished second quickest in the morning session but only fourth in the afternoon, with the Spaniard feeling the second session was much trickier than the first.
Like Leclerc, Sainz hopes Ferrari can find a solution to their issues overnight so they can hit the ground running on Saturday morning.
“A bit of a tricky FP2 compared to a positive FP1, as we struggled a bit with tyres and balance after the changes we made,” said Sainz. “We need to look at it and find the correct adjustments for tomorrow, but we’ve got plenty of data and I’m sure we’ll find a more comfortable set-up.
“It seems like there is a lot of degradation with the heat, which could be crucial for the race, so we’ll also keep an eye on that.”
Sainz was also happy to see a lot of Spaniards in attendance on Friday, many supporting him, which he took a lot of motivation from.
“I’m very impressed with the number of fans in the grandstands today,” he said. “It’s fantastic to see all these people supporting us and their good vibes are a huge motivation!”