The Silver Arrows dominated the FP1 and FP2 in Suzuka. Indeed, Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton ended up first and second in both the sessions, showing in addition the best pace over the race simulations.
Charles Leclerc, who got the pole-position during the last four Grand Prix, underlined how the Maranello’s team did not expect the Mercedes exploit. Despite, he reckoned that the SF90 overall balance is good, while speed remains the main concern for the weekend.
“We made the most out of our day which was the most important.”
“But it seems we are lacking pace this weekend,” he pointed out, “which is a bit of a surprise because at the end we were very strong in the last four races.
“We expected to be quite quite good here nut it’s just not the case. But we will be working to prepare at its best to qualifying on Sunday.”
The Monegasque driver continued remarking how he is not doing his best in Suzuka and still needs to improve his performance.
“There’s a little bit in driving too, I’m not driving very well. But I still expect it to be hard to catch Mercedes in front.”
"Then we've got a few set-up changes to do on the car, and hopefully putting everything together we'll do a step forward."
Similarly, Sebastian Vettel reckoned that Mercedes appears clearly as the favourite for the victory. Besides, the four times Formula 1 World Champion indicated that Red Bull could represent a threat for Ferrari in Japan.
“There is a bit more in the car but you need to be honest and Mercedes look very quick every time they went out,” affirmed Vettel. “Plus it looked a bit more comfortable for Red Bull as well here so it will be tight and I expect them both to be very strong on Sunday morning as well.”
Vettel added that the Mercedes’ superiority is not simply due to the recent upgrades brought by the Anglo-German team in Suzuka. In fact, he claimed that the Suzuka’s layout probably suits the W10 characteristics better than the SF90, given the high downforce required.
“I think they have probably improved, but it’s also possible that this track just suits Mercedes better,” concluded Vettel.