First day out around the Losail circuit showed Ferrari has still a lot to work on to get the most out of Sunday’s race. Hence, the focus today was on trying to complete as many laps as possible – that turned out to be a total of 104 between the two sessions- in order to get used to this new track.
“The first day on an unknown track is always exciting and challenging, as it’s obviously a completely new experience,” Carlos Sainz commented at the of the day.
“To be honest, I think this track has surprised everyone with how fast it is and the speed we are doing around the corners. That translates into having to work harder on the set-ups we originally had in mind and having to adapt throughout the day.”
The Spaniard came in 6th at the end of FP1 and was P10 in the second free practice session of the day and is now looking forward to what can be improved before tomorrow’s qualifying.
“We are not exactly where we want to be, so we need to improve the car overnight because the competition is very tight. I have full confidence that we can manage it and hopefully tomorrow we will be further up the order.”
Friday ended with a P7 and a P13 for his teammate Charles Leclerc who seems to be enjoying the circuit.
“I really like the track here at Loisal, it is great. It’s always interesting to mix things up and see a new venue on the calendar,” he said. “We put in a good number of laps across our two cars today, getting to know the characteristics of the circuit and gathering as much data as possible.”
Tomorrow will be all about finding the most suitable set-up for the SF21 and managing the tyres, which will be quite challenging - particularly for the softs – given the heat.
“Our main focus will probably be on qualifying preparation because our long-runs were already quite good. What will be key is balancing the first and last sectors, due to tyre overheating that is caused by the high temperatures here.”