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F1 | French GP | An optimistic Friday for Ferrari: “The pace is in the car” says Leclerc

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz discuss what was a strong Friday showing from Ferrari, as the team works to perfect setup for qualifying tomorrow and Sunday's Grand Prix

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F1 | French GP | An optimistic Friday for Ferrari: “The pace is in the car” says Leclerc
Fuente imagen: @scuderiaferrari on twitter

Ferrari set the pace in both Friday practice sessions for the French GP, with Charles Leclerc topping FP1 and teammate Carlos Sainz taking the top spot in FP2. The team’s impressive performance has instilled Leclerc with the confidence that a win is possible this weekend.

“It was a good Friday,” said Leclerc. “I mean we still have to work on the car a little bit for tomorrow. It’s very difficult to understand because it feels like Red Bull is doing something different from us on Friday. In ourselves the feeling is good so we just need to put everything together and the pace is in the car.”

The Ferrari man was then asked how the car feels in terms of reliability, a concern considering the Italian team’s recent run of form in the reliability department. Leclerc admits that due to the high temperatures, this weekend will be difficult not only physically for the drivers, but also for the cars.

“It feels good. Warm. Very warm for me and I guess for the car too.” Leclerc joked. “Obviously reliability we need to be on top of for this weekend. It’s going to be a difficult race for us drivers but also for the car, but I’m confident that it will be ok.”

Also a concern as a result of the unusually high temperatures this weekend is the Pirelli tyres. Leclerc says the tyres felt good however, dispelling any remaining doubt.

“It was good. Max [Verstappen] seems to be particularly quick today on the high fuel. I don’t know how much fuel they were running, it’s a bit of a question mark. 

“Let’s see tomorrow, I believe again that the pace is in the car. We just need to focus on ourselves and if we do perfect we’ll be fighting for the win.”

Despite topping FP2, Carlos Sainz Grand Prix is already compromised, with the Spaniard taking a minimum of a ten place grid penalty, while hinting there will be further new components to come, following a new engine being introduced after his failure in Austria.

Sainz remained positive however, looking at the team's overall pace in comparison to their rivals.

“Well it was definitely a positive Friday.” Sainz said, echoing the sentiments of his teammate. “I didn’t do many laps on the short run on the low fuel, but every lap that I did was super competitive which shows the steps that we’re taking and the direction that we’re going is [going] in the right direction.

“[I was] focussing more on the long run because I’m not going to be in the fight for pole position given the amount of penalties. In the long run there’s a bit of work to do, but at the same time some encouragement from the short run.”

When pushed on his comment of the “amount of penalties” given only one has been announced, Sainz replied with “we will see.” from behind a coy smile.

Sainz also commented on the tyre degradation caused by the high temperatures, saying he expects higher degradation than in previous years at the Paul Ricard circuit.

“It is very hot and so far this year every time we’ve seen it’s been hot, the deg increases massively on these new Pirelli 18” tyres. It’s going to be higher deg, I think, than what we’ve seen in previous years in Paul Ricard so there’s work to do.”

With his penalties however, Sainz is unsure if he will be able to overtake as a tailwind on the straight minimised the effect of DRS and slipstream.

“Yeah I tried a couple of moments with other cars to overtake because I know I’m gonna need to overtake a lot. I must say it was a bit trickier than expected, mainly because there is a tailwind on the back straight. With this tailwind it looks like the slipstream and DRS effect is a bit low.

“I don’t have any other choice, I need to find ways to overtake and the best medicine for that is just to be a bit quicker come Sunday. Let’s see when everyone is running the engine modes flat out if we have the top speed to overtake. I hope we do because I’m going to need to make up a lot of places.”

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