A good day for Ferrari, after all, during the first two free practice sessions on the Baku street circuit in Azerbaijan, with the two red cars only preceded by Max Verstappen's Red Bull in FP1.
Charles Leclerc's Friday was very good, except for a lock-up that saw him have a small touch with the barriers.
Fortunately for him, this time the only part of his Ferrari to be damaged by the impact was the front wing, quickly replaced by the team in the pits. The Monegasque lost control of the car in Turn 15, unable to avoid a slight impact with the barriers.
“I actually felt quite comfortable in the car today, especially on braking,” explained Leclerc.
“Maybe a bit too comfortable and pushed a little bit too much into Turn 15. But in the end, that’s what it’s for, the free practice. I’ve been trying [to find] a little bit the limits."
“It’s definitely better than we expected, but it’s only FP1 and FP2. The pace looks promising. Now we’ll keep on working during the night and hopefully we’ll be as competitive tomorrow.” he added.
He also pointed out the great performances delivered by Mercedes and RedBull throughout this season and added:
“Definitely Red Bull and Mercedes [are faster] – I don’t really know what happened either, but I’m pretty sure they will be in front, and it will be basically a fight with McLaren, that are our main competitors,” he added.
“So we need to make sure we do everything perfect, because they are doing very few mistakes this year. So we are going to try and maximise our potential and hopefully we can be ahead of them tomorrow in quali.”
His teammate Carlos Sainz was more consistent with the soft compound, and with the medium one he managed to set the fastest race pace.
“We’re definitely a bit quicker than maybe what we anticipated,” - the Spaniard stated - “But it is true also that I got a couple of tows in my good laps, the long run we didn’t quite clearly see the pace, so maybe the whole picture is not quite as clear as it can get."
“Red Bull did particularly a strong long run, which showed us that they probably have something more to come tomorrow."
“We were decent on the short run, but then on the long run, I think we still need to analyse how we can get those rear tyres to work a bit better in the window," he said.
“At least it’s exciting. It looks like it’s not easy for anyone out there, and this might bring opportunities. But we are probably also not as good as Monaco, not as good as the lap times showed, but still better than we expected.”