Ferrari endured a rather see-sawing Friday at Silverstone, taking a few positives in qualifying-wise but dealing with major issues in the long runs. Charles Leclerc concluded FP2 in fourth, paying a mere 3-tenth gap from Stroll, who ended the session on top earlier today. On the contrary, Vettel closed the afternoon session in P18 without having the chance to rack up much mileage due to an issue on the brake pedal.
The Monegasque pointed out that the response Ferrari received from the SF1000 looking at qualifying simulations appears to be better than expected, and he also explained that the Maranello-based team adopted a ‘radical approach’ with their downforce level to achieve it.
“The race pace we have been struggling massively, so we definitely need to work on that,” said Leclerc. “The quali pace is a bit better than what we expected to be honest. This is good.
“We’ve taken quite a radical approach with our downforce level, so it seems to pay off in quali, but it doesn’t in the race, so we need to analyse the data, and see what we’ll have to do tomorrow. We can still change quite a lot of things, so we’ll try to understand what we can change to maybe sacrifice a bit more the quali pace to be better in the race.”
The SF1000 is no stranger to plentiful and hard-to-watch driveability difficulties. As for the issues experienced today, Leclerc puts the emphasis on the balance and urges the team to make a number of changes in that regard for Sunday.
“The balance was extremely hard to drive and very, very difficult not to do a mistake. We definitely need to change something on that. Otherwise doing that many laps during the race with this balance will be a huge challenge.”
Sebastian Vettel dealt with two different sorts of problems today, first with the intercooler in the morning and then with the brake pedal at the beginning of FP2. The German managed to get a few laps in over the last 25 minutes of the afternoon session, meaning that he could not work on the qualifying simulation.
The general perception pictures Ferrari in a rather poor scenario for the race, given the major difference in competitiveness between qualifying simulations and long runs. Air and track temperature shall be a key variable for Sebastian Vettel, who had hoped for cooler conditions despite the sun hitting Silverstone today.
“It was a disrupted day. We had an issue with the brake pedal and we had to stop and fix that, so a bit difficult to get into a rhythm. I think overall, still little bits to learn from and take away for tomorrow. I think we need to improve the car. We’ll see where we are tomorrow.”
“I think the track should be in a different state, it should cool down, so we’ll see if that really happens,” he added. “I hope that we come up with something. I think on my side, a lot of it will calm down naturally overnight, and we’ll have a better day tomorrow.”